Melbourne: Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Mumbai have been chosen as hosts for the inaugural International Premier Tennis League, with a Middle Eastern city to be announced later, organisers said yesterday.
The five city franchises, which will draft and pay for a team of players, including some big stars, will play each other home and away in the new event from November 28 to December 20, they said.
Co-founder and Indian doubles specialist Mahesh Bhupathi said the concept was aimed at providing a new, made-for-TV version of tennis with a young, Asian audience in mind.
Ties will consist of a succession of one-set singles and doubles matches with a total time-limit of three-and-a-half hours. The team which finishes with the most games, rather than sets, wins.
“I think the youth of this world are looking for something fun, innovative,” Bhupathi told reporters in Melbourne.
“I think this format brings the biggest stars in the world, creating something new and fresh for tennis.” More details will be released during the year, but Bhupathi said teams will have a salary cap of US$10 million and a minimum spend of US$4 million on between six and 10 players.
The tournament, which aims to expand to more cities in future years, will fall after the traditional tennis season, which is already regarded as congested by some players.