Manila: Political unrest in Bangkok forced the organisers of the newly launched International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) to shift the first leg to Manila.
Mahesh Bhupathi, founder of the IPTL, said on Saturday the decision was taken to ensure the safety of the all the stakeholders. "We are happy to announce Manila as the first host city of our tour across Asia. We had to divert from the original franchise owner in Bangkok as the political unrest forced us to look for an alternative city to ensure the safety of all stakeholders," said Bhupathi.
Bhupathi said Manila quickly emerged as the perfect location to stage the event for the coming years as the city has world class indoor venues available which can hold more than 20,000 spectators.
"The city has not seen professional tennis for the past 20 years. I was on a site visit this week to speak to different stakeholders and we will announce the host venue and local events partner shortly before we launch the pre-ticket sales in mid-June," Bhupathi said.
From November 28-30, the Manila team, represented by Andy Murray, Victoria Azarenka, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, Carlos Moya, Kirsten Flipkens, Daniel Nestor and Treat Huey, will face off against the Singapore "Lions", the Indian "Aces" and the UAE "Falcons".
The best players in the world have committed to play in the league, including Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Thomas Berdych, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, Serena Williams, Victoria 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 28-December 13.
The teams compete against one another in one-set men's singles, women's singles, men's doubles, mixed doubles and a legends' singles matches and the team that wins the most games (not sets) wins the match tie.