New Delhi: Refusing to call the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) an exhibition event, Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal says he would be back to compete in it next year too but conceded that tournaments like these don’t have a place in the ATP World Tour calendar.
Indian Aces' Rafael Nadal returns during a match against Philippine Mavericks in New Delhi on Thursday. Pic/AFP
Making his first appearance in the IPTL, which is in its second season, Nadal is turning up for the Micromax Indian Aces, which also has on its roster Indian tennis aces Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna among others.
"IPTL has been great so far and hopefully I will be back. I have liked the format, the team spirit is good, I think I am going to be back," Nadal told reporters in a press conference after his team’s win over Philippines Mavericks.
"I don’t think these are exhibition matches, these games are very competitive. The intensity of competition is good. I feel the rules are perfect in the IPTL and it’s a great idea. But obviously, in the (ATP) World Tour, it doesn’t have a place," asserted the 29-year-old.
In fact, Nadal went on to say that the IPTL is turning out to be perfect preparation for him ahead of the next season. The 'King of Clay' has struggled with his form this season, failing to win a single Major for the first time in 10 years. "It is an unbelievable event. I have had a very good time so far and it’s a preparation for the next season. The format is quick and anything can happen. The matches can also become very close," he said.