Indian tennis courts are set to be dazzled like never before when global icons like Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic touch down to enthrall "full house" crowds during the third leg of the inaugural International Premier Tennis League in Delhi from Saturday.
Besides being a mouthwatering treat for the "fortunate" fans to see the legends in action, the heavy duty line-up in New Delhi has the potential to give a big push to the IPTL, which already has announced its plans to add two more cities to the existing four in 2015.
"There is a lot of buzz around the fact that the likes of Roger, Novak and Sampras will be playing in Delhi. They too are very excited about coming to India. Manila was amazing, Singapore was good too, now I hope the fans welcome players with open arms," IPTL founder Mahesh Bhupathi told PTI last night after the conclusion of the Singapore leg.
The former India player is confidently hoping the third leg will surpass the popularity of Manila and Singapore.
"I do have high hopes. How successful it is we have to wait and watch. I just hope Indian fans take it to next level," said Bhupathi, confirming that Federer will only be available for the India leg of IPTL and won't be travelling to Dubai for the fourth and final round from December 11-13.
Federer, who first visited India in 2006 for a UNICEF program, has already shown enough excitement for his tennis debut in a country where he enjoys a huge following.
The Swiss great may not play on all three days of the competition or not get enough time to explore India but he found an interesting way to engage with his legion of fans.
The record 17-time Grand Slam champion took to Twitter, asking his followers to photoshop him around India and in return he was "entertained" with some "hilarious" suggestions. One follower posted a morphed image of Federer enjoying an autorickshaw ride in the capital.
"It won't be my first time in India, but it'll be my first time to play tennis, and that moment you walk onto the court or into the stadium -- that's why I play tennis," said Federer.
"I'm going to India for that feeling -- playing tennis, showing what I can do, bringing over my personality, sharing the fun and all that with the people, and how are the people going to react. And obviously I'm going to meet a ton of people, get a sense for how it is locally there. It's going to be crazy, but I'm prepared for that," he was quoted as saying by CNN recently.