Roger Federer to replace Rafael Nadal in IPTL

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Superstar Roger Federer will replace Rafael Nadal in the inaugural International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) line-up, organisers announced on Monday.Roger Federer

Federer, who will be aiming to help Switzerland win the Davis Cup against France in Lille on November 21-23, will then be heading off to Manila, Philippines, for the first of the four rounds of the league which begins on November 28.

Nadal, who had originally been signed up for the ‘Indian Aces’, has not played since losing to Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon because of injury, so organisers have been delighted that they have found such a high-profile replacement as Federer.

“You know, Rafael has been hurt since Wimbledon he has not played any tennis. So obviously there was a risk there, and you know in the format we have, there is something, you know, neither party wanted to kind of take a chance with.

“When you are talking of profile as high as Rafael Nadal, there was probably only one name that could have helped ease the pain and for us fortunately Roger was available and we made it happen,” said the founder of IPTL, Mahesh Bhupathi, in New Delhi, India.

Bhupathi added that getting Federer on board was all the more satisfying for the organisers as the Swiss great, the winner of a record 17 grand slam titles, had originally not been able to commit to the event because of the imminent birth of his second set of twins.

“Well, I think, earlier on, when I was talking to the players a year and half ago, Roger was expecting his set of twins. I don’t think he could be making too many commitments at that point and obviously, now he is very sure about his schedule and you know, we are very happy to have him play for me personally in India,” he added.

Federer will be spearheading the ‘Indian Aces’, the League’s Indian franchise with Pete Sampras, Gael Monfils, Ana Ivanovic, Sania Mirza, Rohan Bopanna and Fabrice Santoro as his team-mates.

The other franchises are in the Philippines, Singapore and the UAE who will each host a round of the competition which runs until December 13.

Men’s world number one Novak Djokovic, his women’s counterpart Serena Williams, Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic, Caroline Wozniacki as well as former greats Andre Agassi, Goran Ivanisevic and Patrick Rafter have also confirmed their participation with one million USD prize money on offer.

The teams will compete in men’s and women’s singles, men’s and mixed doubles and men’s legends singles with one set per match, and no advantage scoring.

“What we have now, is a format that fills the current gap in the professional tennis circuit which did not allow for much innovation over the last 100 years.

“Delhi will feature the best current and past years of the game in a new format which will see the players in a NBA (National Basketball Association) style entertainment which allows the spectators to see as many as 20 players in one day,” said Chief Operating Officer of the IPTL, Eric M Gottschalk.

Delhi will host the third round on December 6-8.

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