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Only one of the Big Four to feature in IPTL 2016

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Only one of the Big Four to feature in IPTL 2016

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SportsCafe Desk

11/25/2016

After entertaining the Indian crowd with a match between Federer and Nadal in 2015, the IPTL might miss few big names in the sport in this year's edition. With Nadal, who previously played for Indian Aces, surely set to miss it due to injury, Roger Federer could be only player to feature this time.

The third season of the International Premier Tennis League(IPTL) might not feature the likes of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray as the duo would look to opt out of the competition after playing a heavy-scheduled season in 2016. Last year, Djokovic had pulled out of the tournament fearing year-end fatigue. Rafael Nadal is certain to miss the competition after ending his 2016 season in October due to multiple injuries. Earlier in the week, a report by India Today said that Swiss legend Roger Federer could return to play for Indian Aces for the 2016 edition.

"One of the Big Four is definitely coming. We did not want to reveal all our cards today. We will announce the name in the next 48 hours," Mahesh Bhupathi, founder of Indian Aces, told PTI on Friday.

Djokovic represented UAE Royals in the inaugural edition in 2014 while Rafael Nadal featured for Indian Aces until last year. For this year though, Spain's World No. 28 Feliciano Lopez is so far the highest-ranked singles male player in the Indian team. While there are also rumours that payment issues are plaguing the league following the demonetization issue in India, Bhupathi asserted that there was no truth in the talk.

"All the players we had last year are back. We had a long list of players who wanted to come but unfortunately could not come because there were no spots. Everything is good," Bhupathi said.

"That's why they say don't believe in everything you read," he added further.

With the base of Indian Aces shifted from Delhi to Hyderabad for the latest edition, Bhupathi said that the organizers are trying various cities to look at the crowd reception.

"There is no particular reason, we did it there (Delhi) for two years, the fans enjoyed world class tennis. The concept was built about having one team for country. Last year, we did it in Kobe (in Japan), this year we are doing it in Tokyo. The owners wanted an opportunity to move to a different city, to see if they get good buzz," the 42-year old said.

Philippines Mavericks are also not featuring in the 2016 season while Serena Williams and Kei Nishikori are the only big names confirmed to play for the competition so far.

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