The superstars of tennis will land in India for the inaugural edition of the International Premier Tennis League which begins late November. The most excited amongst them is a certain Roger Federer, who says he can hardly wait to see the country, again.
The Swiss sensation, according to a report in Times of India, has said that India was always on his list of travel destinations. That his December 6 to 8 visit to New Delhi is fast approaching now is only adding to his absolute thrill. Federer will turn out for Indian Aces in the pan-Asia, inter-city tennis event, a brainchild of Davis Cup star Mahesh Bhupathi.
"For me going to India is like going to South America, like I felt in my initial years," he was quoted as saying. "It feels unreal because you've wanted it to happen for so long, and then finally it's happening."
The 17-time Grand Slam champion had earlier asked his followers on Twitter for suggestions on what his India itinerary should be like. Intrigued by the country and its rich culture, Federer admits the vast expanse cannot be covered in one trip but adds that he would want to soak in as much as is possible. "I would love one day to travel across your great country and experience all there is to experience," he said.
Federer has visited India once before. He came to Chennai and then travelled to Pondicherry on charity work with his wife Mirka. "I understand that the north of India is very different from the south, culturally, languages, the food you eat and the clothes you wear," he said.
"It would be impossible to experience all of India at one go. Whenever I speak to Indians anywhere in the world I notice that they speak of their country with a great sense of pride, which is very nice, very sweet. You all have a great history," Federer said.
Federer's almost child-like exhuberance is matched only by his Indian fans, many of whom have been rather worried about what it would cost to watch him play in front of them. According to a report in the Hindustan Times, the lowest-priced pass will be around Rs 12,000, the most expensive at around Rs 29,000 and mid-level ticket at around Rs 16,000.
IPTL co-founder Bhupathi on Wednesday, however said that spectators can expect affordable tickets and need not worry about burning a hole in their pockets. "Contrary to reports today,tickets for the IPTL are highly affordable for tennis fans who want to see Fed and Novak," he tweeted.
The timing of the tweet then is as well-timed for fans as IPTL event is for Federer.
"It (ITPL) fits perfectly, right in the middle of my training. I wasn't going to change my training schedule radically, because obviously I'm looking to get ready for the next season. I play in Delhi and then I go back to training and then I play my charity match with Stan (Wawrinka) in Switzerland. It all fits perfectly," said the 33-year-old world Number two.