New Delhi: IPTL founder Mahesh Bhupathi has said his estranged doubles partner Leander Paes turned down the invitation to play in the tournament's ongoing inaugural season.
Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes
Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna are the only Indians playing in the League boasting of past and former greats including Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Pete Sampras. Besides Paes, Bhupathi said another top Indian player invited was Somdev Devvarman.
Asked whether the event will see more Indians next year including Paes and Devvarman, Bhupathi replied: "They all are invited. They were invited this year as well.
"Somdev preferred to play in the Indian league (CTL) and Leander did not want to (play)," said the former doubles Grand Slam champion. Bhupathi said he was happy with the interest his League generated in Delhi after the success of Singapore and Manila legs.
"Personally for me, it was very important to put a big show (in India). There was a lot of scepticism before the league began. The kind of talent came here, the fans reciprocated. Players need that kind of atmosphere to play in," said Bhupathi, adding all the players committed are for next year and the player field for next season will be ready by February.
He ruled out the presence of another Indian team (after Indian Aces) in the League but said the owners have the option to move around cities.
"Will there be another team in India? The answer is no but they (owners) have the option to move around the cities, spread the wealth as they say," Bhupathi added.