London: A self-confessed tennis fan, former Indian cricket captain Sunil Gavaskar has bought stake in the the Singapore franchise of veteran Mahesh Bhupathi's ambitious brainchild -- the International Premier Tennis League.
According to a report in 'The Daily Telegraph' here, Gavaskar was unveiled as one of the co-owners of the franchise ahead of the Wimbledon Championships which get underway here on Monday. "I am a big tennis lover and I have followed the careers of Mahesh and his old doubles partner Leander Paes for years," said the batting legend, who remains active in various cricket-related activities such as commentary.
The Singapore franchise will be represented by renowned players such as Serena Williams, Andre Agassi and Tomas Berdych. Gavaskar is part of a quartet which owns the franchise. The team owners reportedly paid USD 15 million for the franchises, which they will own for 10 years. Manila will host the first leg of the event, which has attracted many top players of the ATP and WTA Tour to compete in the team competition.
The Manila team will be represented by Andy Murray, Victoria Azarenka, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, Carlos Moya, Kirsten Flipkens, Daniel Nestor. The best players in the world have committed to play in the league, including of world number one Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Murray, Thomas Berdych, Tsonga, Serena Williams, Azarenka, Ana Ivanovic, Caroline Wozniacki and former Champions Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Patrick Rafter, Carlos Moya and Goran Ivanisevic.
The league format features a total of 24 matches to be played in the four host cities Manila, Singapore, Mumbai and Dubai from November to December. The teams will compete against each other in one-set men's singles, women's singles, men's doubles, mixed doubles and legends singles matches and the team that wins the most games (not sets) wins the match tie. Djokovic has hailed the new competition as "revolutionary for tennis."