Tennis

Bhupathi: IPTL will bounce back

The International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) will "bounce back" despite axing Roger Federer and Serena Williams over money problems and dropping from five tournaments to three, its founder told AFP.

Mahesh Bhupathi, who launched the IPTL in 2014, said he was sure "new money" was on its way for the innovative tournament, without saying where it would come from.

"We've had some challenges this year, but you know we stayed afloat which was the most important thing so you know, whatever it is, we will bounce back," he said in an interview in Singapore.

The IPTL, which features a shortened scoring system, shot-clock, cheerleaders, DJs and franchise-based teams, is billed as a refreshing update to the traditional tennis format.

But this year's tournament is missing many top players. This week, the IPTL said superstars Federer and Williams were skipping the Indian leg.

Bhupathi initially blamed their absence on chaos caused by India's withdrawal of 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes from circulation. But he told AFP they were cut to save costs.

REVENUE VERSUS COST

"The revenue and the cost weren't matching so you know, we didn't want to go into a big (financial) hole just for the sake of doing it," said Bhupathi.

"So we thought we would get by with these (other) players and look at the bigger show next year."

He added that both had been "very, very keen to play". - AFP

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