Bhupathi: IPTL in Singapore next month
While uncertainty reigns around event, Bhupathi says contracts will be signed this week
A fog may have descended over the future of the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL), with the event disappearing from the radar since the Singapore Slammers won the 2015 season by beating the Indian Aces at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
But IPTL director Mahesh Bhupathi told The New Paper yesterday that the event will return to Singapore next month.
IPTL staff are arriving today to sign various deals to ensure the event will be held on schedule from Dec 6 to 8 at the same venue.
"The IPTL is coming to Singapore. The team will be in Singapore tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. Some contracts need to be signed and as soon as they are signed, we'll make the announcements," said Bhupathi, a former doubles star for India.
"Ticket sales (in Singapore) will start on Nov 15 or 16."
The Singapore event in December last year was the last time an IPTL match was played, but the official website has listed a five-country tour that will kick off on Dec 2 in Saitama, Japan.
It will then pass through Singapore, before heading to the Philippines, the United Arab Emirates and ending in India (Dec 16 to 18).
Tickets for the Japan event at the Saitama Super Arena have already gone on sale on ticketbis.com.
Home team the Japan Warriors have on their books local pair Kei Nishikori and Kurumi Nara, former women's world No. 1 Martina Hingis, Russia's ex-US Open champion Marat Safin, Fernando Verdasco, Lucie Safarova, Fernando Gonzalez, as well as Jean-Julien Rojer.
Rosters for the other teams were not available, but women's star Ana Ivanovic has already confirmed on her official Twitter account that she has signed up for the IPTL this season.
Names like Serena Williams and Roger Federer have also been linked with the exhibition event despite having shut down their Tour seasons.
Maria Sharapova, who is serving out a 15-month drug ban, is another player who could appear on the IPTL.
Sharapova appeared at a charity event in Las Vegas on Oct 11 and that was the first time she was playing in front of spectators in a stadium environment since her ban.
"I will look to play maybe a couple of exhibition events leading up to my first tournament in April," she said, speaking at the sidelines of Vegas' Caesar's Palace.
"I don't know what those will be, but I think that's one of the things that will be really important."