ATTENTION FILIPINO FANS:
The long wait is over as the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) brings an extraordinary tennis team competition in the Philippines for the first time. Tickets are now sold on all SM Branch outlets.
The grand event will officially start on November 28 until the 30th at Mall Of Asia Arena (MOA).
Mahesh Bhupati serves as the IPTL brainchild while Eric Gottschalk acts as the Chief Operating Officer (COO). The goal is to market the sport in Asian countries, particularly in Manila who hasn’t seen tennis superstars since the Fire And Ice Exhibition between John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg twenty more years ago (The Passionate Fan, Yahoo Sports 2014).
“SM is the biggest conglomerate in the Philippines and having them as a partner adds a lot of value to our property and validates the potential of our league. I would like to thank SM for their long term commitment to the IPTL and the Manila Mavericks and we look forward to staging a World Premiere at MOA Arena in November (IPTL Press Release, 28 August 2014).” Bhupati said, who won four Grand Slam titles in doubles and eight in mixed doubles.
IPTL will introduce new rules for an indoor surface. I’m not sure what type of hardcourt will be used but I’m certain the competition made an exciting team format for a sport that is always played in singles and doubles.
Each team (Manila, Singapore, India and UAE) will play five sets of different ties. That’s one set for men’s and for women’s singles, another set for men’s doubles followed by a set for mixed doubles. Finally, a legend’s singles will close out the show in the fifth.
Unlike the traditional scoring, IPTL adds a power point in the mix. Please watch the video below as it explains the format in detail.
The five-time grand slam champion, Maria Sharapova, and 2013 Wimbledon Champion, Andy Murray, will led the Manila Mavericks. Their team mates are:
- Jo-Wilfredo Tsonga – The Frenchman who is the 2008 Australian Open finalist
- Kirsten Flipkens – The 2013 Sportswoman of the Year in Belgium
- Carlos Moya – The retired Spaniard who was a former World No. 1 and 1998 French Open Singles Champion
- Daniel Nestor – The lefty Canadian with eight slam titles in doubles
- Treat Huey – The 28-year-old Filipino pro with three titles in doubles
Where Are The Tickets?
As you see the picture on the right says tickets are available in all SM Tickets nationwide.
Yes, tickets are kinda expensive but hey, it’s still worth the pay considering it’s a three-day pass and you’ll watch more than two tennis superstars in one of the grandest venues in the country.
Admit it, this is a lifetime experience for all die-hard Filipino fans – young and old.
Reason 1: Manila wasn’t even the original location for IPTL first leg should the organizers haven’t changed the venue from Bangkok (UK Daily Mail, 10 May 2014).
Reason 2: News reports say early bird rates are given until the 15th of September.
General admission costs 2,500 Php while the VIP clocks at 49,000 Php. Again, these rates are good for a three-day event.
I’m no good in math but as I understand it, you’re paying 16,000+ Php each day if you’ll choose the VIP area, which can only accommodate 44 people. Upper box, lower box and patron are the other types of seating with 3-day passes.
Apart from Manila Mavericks, other players will come to represent their teams. These confirmed players are:
- Serena Williams (18-time Grand Slam Champion in singles), Daniela Hantuchova (Former World Number 5), Tomas Berdych (2010 Wimbledon finalist in singles), Lleyton Hewitt (2-time Grand Slam Champion in singles), Patrick Rafter (retired 2-time US Open Champion in singles) and Nick Kyrgios (ATP Rising Australian Star) will play for Singapore.
- Ana Ivanovic (2008 French Open Champion in singles), Gael Monfils (Former World Number 7) and Fabrice Santoro (retired Australian Open Champion in doubles) represent India.
- Eugenie Bouchard (WTA Rising Canadian Star), Richard Gasquet (Former World Number 7) and Goran Ivanisevic (2001 Wimbledon Champion in singles) will play for UAE.
IPTL revealed that there are “more” players who will play in MOA. While reading, I was asking myself “what do they mean by “more?”
It speaks volumes. It might mean other superstars in the list will come or these are the surprised replacements should there be unexpected injuries to any of the players written above.
But enough of the guessing game. This is IPTL and the organizers released the match schedule for Manila Leg. Hopefully, they will also release the names of the players in each tie so that I can make early predictions.
First Day (November 28, Friday)
- 4:00 PM, India vs Singapore
- 7:30 PM, Manila vs UAE
Second day (November 29, Saturday)
- 4:00 PM, UAE vs Singapore
- 7:30 PM, Manila vs India
Third day (November 28, Sunday)
- 4:00 PM, UAE vs India
- 7:30 PM, Manila vs Singapore
After Manila leg, IPTL moves on to Singapore, India and UAE. The scheduled dates are December 2 to 4, December 6 to 8 and December 11 to 13, respectively. UAE will be the final leg of the team competition and the team with more number of games win will hail as the overall champion.