Come December 9, the hometown of world women’s doubles number one Sania Mirza will see some of the top international players in action at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium where a temporary synthetic court will be laid for the third edition of the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL). Termed as one of the biggest tennis events to be held in the city, some of the big names, including Serena Williams, Kei Nishkori, Tomas Berdych, Ana Ivanoic, Euginie Bouchard and Sania Mirza will be playing four different teams with the final league and finals culminating on December 11. Though one would have loved to see greats such as Federer, Djokovic or Nadal, the trio would not be here this time in the Mahesh Bhupathi-organised event.
However, the sheer presence of the other players could give a boost to the State and city tennis. Thanks to Sania’s exploits on the world stage, tennis has been making a mark and is one of the popular games in the city. State IT Minister KT Rama, who is also the president of the Tennis Association of the State, is excited as IPTL is moving its home base from Delhi to Hyderabad ‘to connect with the new demography of the Indian tennis enthusiast.’ KTR is clear in his views that it is more than just giving support to Sania. For two years, Sania has been Telangana’s brand ambassador and it is only befitting to hold this event in her own city. The IPTL, in fact, brings together current champions, tennis legends and upcoming talent. According to Bhupathi, this IPTL has been created to fulfil the increasing demand for top-level tennis in Asia, it’s the first city-based professional league in the world, played in the respective countries.
There will not be an immediate impact of IPTL on the tennis scenario but the young and budding players will be inspired seeing the star players in action. The city had some eminent players such as SP Misra, Narendranath, Vasudeva Reddy, who went on to play in Davis Cup but the emergence of Sania has indeed made everyone believe that if given the encouragement and the infrastructure, another Sania could emerge. For that matter, Sania is a product of the sustained encouragement given to her. The National Games in 2002 was the perfect platform for her to showcase her skills. It helped her play and practice in the then newly-constructed tennis stadium at Fateh Maidan. So, one expects the IPTL to bring a new awareness and boom in talent in the State. There are many like Yadlapalli Pranjala, Sowjanya, Nidhi Chillimulla, to name a few, who have the talent and ability to make it big.