The Mahesh Bhupathi-backed International Tennis Premier League (ITPL) is all set to rope in Swiss legend Roger Federer after fourteen-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal dropped out citing health reasons.
HT, which reported the development first, has reliably learnt that Federer will be coming in and playing for a franchise backed by an IT company.
Federer, one of the finest tennis players the world has produced, has won a record 17 Grand Slam titles and his on-field rivalry with Nadal has produced some epic matches in the history of the game.
"We regret to announce that due to health reasons, #RafaelNadal will not be playing in the #IPTL. We're rooting for you, #GetWellSoonRafa!" ITPL tweeted on Monday.
The team tennis competition has managed to get on board three teams apart from India. Philippines, Singapore and UAE investors are on board for what was slated to be a pan-Asian event.
The ITPL offers $1 million in prize money. Though, the guarantee fee for getting the likes of Federer on board is bound to be more that double of that.
The first year will see four Asian teams — India, Singapore, Manila and Dubai — play at four locations.
Details on who owns the Indian team is still not clear. There were talks of PVP Group owning the team, but it was later revealed that Micromax have invested instead.
According to some reports, team owners have paid about $15 million for the franchises, which they will own for 10 years.
Some of the names include those of Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Serena Williams, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna.
The teams will play a total of 24 matches in a round robin format to determine the inaugural IPTL League Champion from November 28 to December 13.