The Singapore leg of the Coca-Cola International Premier Tennis League (IPTL), kicks off at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Tuesday. The Serena Williams-led DBS Singapore Slammers will look to reverse their fortunes in the home leg. The home team will be bolstered by the addition of one of the legends of the game – Andre Agassi who makes his IPTL debut.
The players landed in the Lion City on Monday amidst much fanfare. Former World No. 1 Andre Agassi was quick to get into the festive mood, turning on Christmas tree lights at the official hotel while DBS Singapore Slammers teammate and World No. 7 Tomas Berdych spoke of his excitement to bring a new form of tennis to Singapore.
The official press conference was attended by Tomas Berdych (DBS Singapore Slammers), Josh Eagle (DBS Singapore Slammers, Coach), Goran Ivanisevic (Musafir.com UAE Royals), John Laffnie De Jager (Musafir.com UAE Royals, Coach), Fabrice Santoro (Micromax Indian Aces, Player-Coach), Treat Huey (Manila Mavericks, Player-Coach) and Eric M. Gottschalk (COO, IPTL).
Berdych hopeful of doing well at home team stadium
Tomas Berdych wants to change fortunes for Singapore Slammers who had been without a win in the Manila leg.
“We didn’t start the way that we wanted to in Manila and as we are coming to our home venue we want to change it all and really start strong, play well and you know, make some wins. I think that this is the best place to do it and it’s good that you get other chances and for us it would be great to start with some wins,’’ Berdych said.
Berdych confident of a win v Tsonga
The World No. 7 talked about his impending clash against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of the Manila Mavericks.
“I think we have all had good seasons but playing with Jo is going to be a tough match. We’ve had many of them in the past and as I was saying, this is the best time to start to win some matches and I’m going to try and win many and this is a good start,’’ Berdych added.
Goran approves of IPTL
2001 Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic of the UAE Royals approved of the IPTL format. The former World No. 2 even expressed confidence that the event will become even better in the near future.
“I think this is going to be good for the future. Hopefully the Singapore people will enjoy it; we have another two cities to go. But so far it’s looking great and it’s going to be even better and better,’’ Ivanisevic said.
Josh Eagle talks about coaching the Slammers
When you have established greats like Serena Williams, Andre Agassi, Pat Rafter and also Tomas Berdych in one team, it sure is not an easy task to coach such a team. DBS Singapore Slammers coach Josh Eagle revealed how tough it can get and how much the entire team is enjoying the IPTL.
“It’s not easy. Look it’s pretty hard when you’ve got grand slam champions like Pat Rafter having to sit out a couple of matches but when you’re bringing in some of the all-time greats that’s what showcases this product – the IPTL is just an incredible product that you can get the absolute all-time greats of the game and the greats of the current era playing together’’, Eagle said.
‘’Travelling together is a lot of fun; the format is fun; you will see the excitement on the bench among all the players. I have no doubt that Andre is excited as is Serena. For us it’s about showing the fans what this is all about. We’re serious about winning and will be pulling out all the stops here tomorrow night (Tuesday night),” Eagle added.
Agassi eager to make his debut
Eight-time Grand Slam champion Andre Agassi will be giving the Singapore Slammers a boost when he makes his IPTL debut in front of the home fans on Tuesday. The former World No. 1 is very eager to make a significant contribution to the team.
“I hope to be a contribution for my team, and add to the entire experience. It’s great to be back, I wish I had more reasons to come here, and now it looks like I have a reason to come here every year,’’ Agassi said.