Mahesh Bhupathi confident Leander Paes will join IPTL soon

Even as some of the world's biggest tennis stars like Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray etc are all set to sparkle at the inaugural franchise-based International Premier Tennis League (IPTL), which kicks off on November 28 in Manila, Indian tennis ace Leander Paes has not yet joined the Mahesh Bhupathi initiative.

Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes
Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes

Bhupathi however is hopeful that his former partner will come on board sooner rather than later.

When mid-day asked Bhupathi what he thought of Paes not yet being a part of the ITPL, he said: "Leander is going through an emotional phase in his personal life right now. He should have been playing tennis on the Tour right now but he's not, which means he has his priorities that he must address.

Maybe sometime later I could speak to him and get him to join the IPTL," Bhupathi told mid-day yesterday from Manila, which replaced Bangkok as the venue for the IPTL's opening leg due to the ongoing political unrest in Thailand.

Bhupathi was referring to Paes' ongoing bitter court battle with partner Rhea Pillai for the custody of their 8-year-old daughter Aiyana.

Speaking of Manila as IPTL's newest venue, Bhupathi said: "I've been here for a few days now and the tennis infrastructure here has amazed me.

In fact, there are two venues here in Manila that are competing with each other to host the IPTL. Both venues are world class with a spectator capacity of 20,000 each. It's perfect for IPTL."

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