IPTL is ten-tertainment, says a fan on the tournament
That's how a fan aptly described IPTL's concept of clubbing tennis with entertainment as the tournament made its India debut in New Delhi on Saturday
New Delhi: It's ten-tertainment (tennis and entertainment) was the reaction of an enthusiastic fan at the new fangled International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) which made its Indian debut with plenty of glitz and glamour at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium.
UAE Royals' Caroline Wozniacki returns to Singapore Slammers' Daniela Hantuchova during their women's singles match of the International Premier Tennis League in New Delhi on Saturday. Pic/AFP
The tennis jamboree began its journey in Manila (November 28-30), progressed to Singapore (December 2 to 4) and meandered its way to the capital here. The final leg is in Dubai from December 11-13. The response was frenzied as tennis lovers realised that Swiss maestro Roger Federer and Serbian World No 1 Novak Djokovic will finally step on Indian shores.
Excitement will reach fever pitch when Federer graces the court on Sunday and faces off with Djokovic on Monday night. Renowned sports commentator Alan Wilkins showered praise on the new venture.
"It's caught on like wildfire. Everyone thought the top players will treat this like an exhibition event, but no, they have played very seriously and displayed really good tennis. I think the IPTL and the Champions Tennis League (CTL) which just concluded can co-exist together," noted the Briton.
IPTL founder Mahesh Bhupathi with actress wife Lara Dutta and daughter Saira catch Day One action of the India leg of the tournament in New Delhi on Saturday. Pic/PTI
Wilkins also felt that the tennis league can be as popular as cricket's hugely successful Indian Premier League (IPL). "Why not? It can do as well for sure. In future, I feel it could be played in more Indian cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Kolkata."
The new tennis league developed by doubles ace and entrepreneur Mahesh Bhupathi is also trying to be innovative like the IPL. You have the power point, where the receiver can win two points, no lets on serves, and the no advantage rule in games, where after deuce there is a deciding point.
Like basketball there is a 20-second shot clock for the serve and time outs during the set. In basketball, the shot clock is the time allowed for a player to shoot a basket. In NBA and college basketball in the US the shot clock is 24 seconds.
Of course the IPTL also has its version of cheerleaders like the IPL. Girls dancing to peppy music after every match was received by loud applause. On the opening day, the stands were half full, but a full house is expected on Sunday and Monday when Federer and Djokovic will be the major attractions.
* UAE Royals 29 beat Singapore Slammers 16
* Indian Aces 26 beat Manila Mavericks 25