With the curtain closed on the ATP World Series and Davis Cup, International Premier Tennis League opens in Manila, Philippines, on Friday. Primary attractions from the men’s game include Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, while the best from the women’s game are represented by Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.
The competition is set up across a 16-day period in what organisers describe as an event that “combines world-class sports and entertainment in a format that keeps both spectators and TV viewers completely engrossed.”
|Andy Murray||Carlos Moya|
|Jo-Wilfred Tsonga||Maria Sharapova|
|Kirsten Flipkens||Treat Huey|
|Serena Williams||Daniela Hantuchova|
|Tomas Berdych||Bruno Soares|
|Lleyton Hewitt||Patrick Rafter|
|Rodger Federer||Sania Mirza|
|Pete Sampras||Rohan Bopanna|
|Gael Monfils||Fabrice Santoro|
|Novak Djokovic||Goran Ivanisevic|
|Caroline Wozniacki||Eugenie Bouchard|
|Malek Jaziri||Marin Cilic|
Four teams—Manila Mavericks, Singapore Slammers, Micromax Indian Aces and UAE Royals—contest points in matches free from advantage scoring. Each match is decided from a best-of-five-sets format. Team points are determined by the number of games each win. One game equals one point. Tiebreakers are effectively replaced by "Shoot Outs," with "Super Shoot Outs reserved to decide a fifth set that requires a tiebreak to be played.
Players to Watch
Gael Monfils - Micromax Indian Aces
Once ranked as high as world No. 7, the charismatic Frenchman has five ATP singles titles to his name. After slipping outside the top 20 this year, Monfils will see the competition as a break from his struggles to win ranking events. His energetic playing ability is well suited to a team game, and opponents will fear his combative groundstrokes from the baseline.
Daniel Nestor - Manila Mavericks
The accomplished doubles player is as competitive as they come. At 42, the Canadian has little left to prove in a career that has amassed 12 Grand Slam doubles titles. Thrilling displays of fast-paced shot-making remain a feature of his tennis. His formidable mixed doubles record with regular partner Kristina Mladenovic marks him out as an under-the-radar threat.
Eugenie Bouchard - UAE Royals
Bouchard’s coming-of-age performance at Wimbledon in 2014 was spoiled only by a final defeat to the unflappable Petra Kvitova in July. Lately her form has dipped, and she's slumped to three losses at the WTA Finals in Singapore. When at her attacking best the game looks easy for the 20-year-old. She returns well and forces opponents outside their comfort zone, which will be key in this trigger-finger format of the game.
Caroline Wozniacki - UAE Royals
Will the International Premier Tennis League prove a hit with tennis fans?
The absence of attention surrounding Wozniacki’s private life has helped resurrect her season. Victory at the Istanbul Cup in July was completed in emphatic fashion as she destroyed Roberta Vinci 6-1, 6-1. With a reputation for working hard to secure points, Wozniacki boasts every shot in the locker. Though her own lack of power has meant she has consistently fallen short of upsetting near-rivals, her depth of Grand Slam experience makes her a quality team player.