Though international tennis action in India is restricted to the ATP Chennai Open, the country could get a taste of champion stuff with the advent of the Indian Tennis League.
The All India Tennis Association announced the launch of the tennis league on Friday and said it would be a franchise-based model.
There is the novelty factor and the AITA is trying to create a revenue-model for its players. But the clincher is the League trying to rope in former Grand Slam champions as ‘icon’ players for each team.
Though nothing is confirmed yet, the organizers are talking names as big as Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Steffi Graf and Martina Hingis. This, apart from the Indian marquee of Sania Mirza, Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Somdev Devvarman.
The cities for the first edition have not yet been decided, but the franchises are likely to go to Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore.
There will be five teams, comprising of 10-15 players each, to begin with and the AITA is looking to gradually take the number to eight. The teams will play on home-and-away basis, making it a total of 20 ties and a final in the inaugural edition.
Each tie is then broken down to five matches — men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles.