International Premier Tennis League, the brainchild of Indian tennis star Mahesh Bhupati is all set for its second season. Detailed schedule is yet to be announced but 2015 season will kick off on December 2 in Japan and will conclude on December 20th. IPTL drafts were also announced today with the entry of Rafael Nadal in to the mix being the highlight.
Fresh team Japan Warriors
Season 2 of IPTL will also see the introduction of a new team, Japan Warriors. They will be the fifth team to feature in the tournament along with the Dubai, Manila, New Delhi and Singapore – all of whom featured in the inaugural season.
Warriors opened their team sheet by bagging world #2 Maria Sharapova. Last year’s US Open finalist and World #4 and Japan’s top seed Kei Nishikori too feature in their draft along with Indian doubles veteran Leander Paes.
Team: Maria Sharapova, Kei Nishikori, Leander Paes, Vasek Pospisil, Marat Safin, Daniela Hantuchova, Lucas Pouille and Kurumi Nara
Defending champions Indian Aces snared the big fish, Spaniard Rafael Nadal but released Roger Federer who featured for them in the last season. Aces also retained Indian pair Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna.
Team: Rafael Nadal, Sania Mirza, Rohan Bopanna, Gael Monfils, Fabric Santoro, Ivan Dodig and Agneszka Radwanska
UAE Royals who were runners up in the first season snatched Roger Federer and Ana Ivanovic, both of whom featured for Aces. Marin Cilic, Goran Ivanisevic and Mladenovic will bench for Royals for yet another season.
Team: Roger Federer, Ana Ivanovic, Marin Cilic, Kristina Mladenovic, Goran Ivanisevic, Tomas Berdych and Daniel Nestor
Manila Mavericks made some wholesale changes in their IPTL draft. They retained Treat Huey and bagged top seeded Serena Williams. Andy Murray who featured Manila last season withdrew from the draft.
Team: Serena Williams, Sabine Lisciki, Richard Gasquet, Mark Philippoussis, Jarmila Gajdosova, Borna Coric and Treat Huey
Singapore Slammers who finished bottom of the table last season also made some extensive changes with seven fresh players in their IPTL draft. Pick of their picks was top seeded Novak Djokovic and Aussie youngster Nick Kyrgios.
Team: Novak Djokovic, Nick Kyrgios, Karolina Pliskova, Carlos Moya, Belinda Bencic, Thanasi Kokkinakis and Marcelo Melo