IPTL: Season 2 kicks off in Japan

The tournament, a brainchild of India’s tennis maestro Mahesh Bhupati, will be played in five cities within a span of three weeks. The fast paced competition has an interesting format and is aimed at attracting a new audience to tennis.

Defending champions Indian Aces will be led by Rafael Nadal in ITPL season 2.   -  Reuters

The International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) season 2 kicks off at the Kobe World Hall in Japan today, with the UAE Royals taking on Singapore Slammers, which will be followed by a face-off between home team Japan Warriors and the Indian Aces.

The tournament, a brainchild of India’s tennis maestro Mahesh Bhupati, will be played in five cities within a span of three weeks. The fast paced competition has an interesting format and is aimed at attracting a new audience to tennis. The IPTL season 2 has incorporated some changes to the 2014 league format. Players are now allowed time-outs in the middle of the matches and a seven-point shoot-out has been introduced to decide the winners, in case of a tie.

Spanish star Rafael Nadal will lead the defending champions Indian Aces in season 2. The team also boasts the likes of Gael Monfils, Agnieszka Radwanska, veteran Fabrice Santoro, Rohan Bopanna, Sania Mirza and Ivan Dodic.

The UAE Royals, runners-up in 2014, will have former world number one Roger Federer, Ana Ivanovic, Marin Cilic, Goran Ivanisevic, Tomas Berdych, Daniel Nestor and Kristina Mladenovic.

No Novak

One big name who will be absent from this year’s IPTL is World number one Novak Djokovic. The Serb, who was set to play for the Singapore Slammers, issued a statement explaining how the gruelling season had taken a toll on him.

Djokovic will be replaced by the duo of Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka. Carlos Moya, Karolina Pliskova, Nick Kyrgios, Marcelo Melo, Belinda Bencic and Dustin Brown complete the Singapore side.

The home team Japan Warriors will be led by home hero Kei Nishikori. Maria Sharapova, Leander Paes, Marat Safin, Philipp Kohlschreiber and Kurumi Nara make up the rest of the squad.