Nadal the big catch for Mumbai in IPTL draft

Nadal the big catch for Mumbai in IPTL draft

Ivanovic, Bopanna, Sania too figure in Indian city's line-up

Nadal the big catch for Mumbai in IPTL draft

World No 1 Rafael Nadal has been signed up by Mumbai to represent them in the inaugural edition of the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) -- a franchise based tennis tournament that is slated to be held across four Asian cities (Mumbai, Bangkok, Singapore, Dubai) -- between November 28 to December 14.

The Mumbai side also boasts former women’s World No 1 Ana Ivanovic, India’s Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza, 14-time Grand Slam champion Pete Sampras, Frenchmen Gael Monfils and Fabrice Santoro.

The player draft which took place here on Sunday saw Dubai picking up Serbian ace Novak Djokovic and Dane Caroline Wozniacki apart from picking up former Wimbledon winner Goran Ivanisevic from the ‘past champions’ category.

While the actual format of the tournament is not yet clear, 24 matches will be held across the four cities on a round-robin basis.  Singapore, who filled their roster with as much as eight players, will host the first leg of the four-leg first season from Nov 28 to Nov 30.

The next stopover will be at Bangkok (Dec 2, 3, 4) before Mumbai (Dec 7, 8, 9) welcomes the players. Dubai (Dec 11, 12, 13) will host the last leg of the inaugural edition.

The Singapore franchise also bought well in the draft by roping in reigning women’s Wold No 1 Serena Williams, apart from picking Czech Tomas Berdych, legend Andre Agassi as well as Lleyton Hewitt and Patrick Rafter. Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova, Bruno Soares and Nick Kyrgios complete their roster.

The fourth and final team in the draft, Bangkok, gave themselves a reasonable chance on the playing field by going top-heavy with the signings of Andy Murray as well as Viktoria Azarenka. They also drafted doubles specialist Daniel Nestor. The other three players they picked were Carlos Moya from the ‘former champions’ pot, Belgian Kirsten Flipkens and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Indian ace Somdev Devvarman wasn’t picked but there is a second round of the draft scheduled for sometime later.

Swiss ace Roger Federer and Argentine Juan Martin del Potro were two of the most high-profile players to not give their names for the draft.

While it was not yet known as to how much money each player commanded, it was reported last week that Nadal might take home a cool $1 million per night.  So far, the team owners have spent  $23,975,000 on getting the players.

Squads: Mumbai: Rafael Nadal, Gael Monfils, Rohan Bopanna, Ava Ivanovic, Sania Mirza, Pete Sampras, Fabrice Santoro.

Singapore: Tomas Berdych, Serena Williams, Andre Agassi, Lleyton Hewitt, Patrick Rafter, Daniela Hantuchova, Bruno Soares, Nick Kyrgios.

Bangkok: Andy Murray, Viktoria Azarenka, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Carlos Moya, Daniel Nestor, Kirsten Flipkens.

Dubai: Novak Djokovic, Caroline Wozniacki, Goran Ivanisevic, Janko Tipsarevic, Nenad Zimonjic, Martina Hingis, Malek Jaziri.