Amritraj: CTL a stepping stone for Hingis’ recent success

"I believe the first edition of CTL gave Martina Hingis the confidence to get back to the circuit and compete at the highest level again. There is no doubt that the CTL provided her a huge platform to reassess her targets," Vijay Amritraj said at the launch of CLT in Hyderabad.

Former tennis great Vijay Amritraj, the brain behind the Champions Tennis League, with Hyderabad Aces owner Rajesh Dandu in Hyderabad   -  V. V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Former tennis great Vijay Amritraj firmly believes his brainchild, the Champions Tennis League, which is slated to kick off in Mumbai from November 23, will be a bigger success in its second season. Amritraj, who is the managing director of Second Serve Pvt Ltd, launched the second edition of the league alongside Hyderabad Aces owner Rajesh Dandu here on Tuesday.

He said CLT 2 will be stronger, better and bigger.

“I believe the first edition of CTL gave Martina Hingis the confidence to get back to the circuit and compete at the highest level again. There is no doubt that the CTL provided her a huge platform to reassess her targets,” he said. “The way she has come back after the hiatus is truly remarkable. The CTL helped her realise her quality as a world-class performer.”

Hingis to play in CTL 2

“Top players always want to live up to their previous performances. And, that is why, perhaps, Hingis has decided to come back and play in the CTL despite having a hectic professional schedule next year. Hyderabad Aces are happy to retain her,” he said. “Martina’s presence will add value to the event. Her performance (in the WTA circuit), since March this year, has been great.”

No favourites

Amritraj, however, refused to pick a favourite. “There are big names and it will be tough a call to predict the winner. All the players will give their heart out and it will be a very competitive event. Most of the games will be a close contest,” he observed.

Final in Hyderabad

The tennis legend also announced Hyderabad as the venue for the final of this year’s edition. “The final will be played in Hyderabad on December 6. The city will be also hosting its home games on November 29 and 30,” he said.

A 14-day affair

Elaborating on the event, he added: “This time it’s a 14-day event, unlike the 10-day affair last year. It will again feature some of the best young Indian talent, who will be training and travelling with the big names and in the process learn a lot from them. We take pride in this initiative and it is going to help Indian tennis,” Amritraj said. “The format remains the same. Each match will be played over five sets. But there is a minor change as the tie-breaker rule will now be implemented at 4-all instead of 5-all.”

Reiterating the importance of the event, he added: “I strongly feel that after the Chennai Open, the CTL is the biggest thing to have happened to Indian tennis. It is the only (tennis) League to played (solely) in India.”