Roger Federer and Serena Williams have pulled out of this year’s International Premier Tennis League in what is a big blow to the tournament. The duo was scheduled to appear in the final leg of the competition in Hyderabad from Dec 9 to 11, for Indian Aces and Singapore Slammers respectively.
The IPTL has been dogged by off-the-field issues and there is growing uncertainly over its future. The competition has already been reduced to a three-city affair from the original five cities.
Mahesh Bhupathi, founder and managing director of IPTL, has revealed that the tournament has faced a financial hurdle, but they are hopeful of bringing Federer and Williams back for the next season.
“We have had challenges this year, and we were hoping to get past them. With the current economic climate in India and the uncertainty of spending money, I reached out to both Roger and Serena to explain the situation. They have been both been very supportive of the IPTL the first two seasons and we look forward to bring them in future years," Bhupathi was quoted as saying by ESPN.
The interest in the tournament has been on the wane with a host of top-ranked players pulling out of the competition. World No 5 Kei Nishikori has also completed his commitment to the tournament in Tokyo last weekend, which means Tomas Berdych is the only top-10 player remaining in the competition.
Federer’s agent Tony Godsick confirmed to the New York Times that there was “some problems and uncertainties surrounding the IPTL” before adding that Federer “hopes to play in future years if the IPTL continues.”