Nadal to team-up with Sampras for Mumbai in new league

Sun Mar 2, 2014 5:02pm EST
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MUMBAI (Reuters) - World number one Rafa Nadal will team up with 14-times major champion Pete Sampras for Mumbai in the inaugural International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) later this year, tournament organizers said on Sunday.

Serena Williams, the top-ranked women's player, will headline the Singapore team alongside Tomas Berdych and Andre Agassi in the off-season tournament from November28 to December14, which is styled on cricket's franchise-based Indian Premier League.

Four teams - Bangkok and Dubai being the others - will compete in men's and women's singles, men's and mixed doubles and a men's legends singles with one set per match, and no advantage scoring.

Serb Novak Djokovic and former women's number one Caroline Wozniacki will lead Dubai while Britain's Andy Murray, Frenchman Jo Wilfried-Tsonga and Victoria Azarenka of Belarus were picked by Bangkok when the teams were drafted on Sunday in Dubai.

The 2014 season will feature 24 matches across the four host cities with all four teams competing in a round-robin format in each of the four cities, organizers said.

"As an Indian and the owner of the tournament I'm delighted that the world number one Rafa Nadal is playing for an Indian city," promoter Mahesh Bhupathi said on Sunday.

"I think the teams are evenly balanced, I'm happy for the players who have been picked."

The IPTL has been generally well-received by the world's top players although not all have signed up.

Roger Federer, winner of a record 17 grand slam titles, and former women's world No.1 Maria Sharapova will not be appearing.   Continued...

Spanish tennis player Rafa Nadal poses with playing cards depicting some of his 11 Grand Slam victories after an interview with Reuters in Madrid, September 18, 2012. REUTERS/Paul Hanna