The International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) has been dealt a massive blow as superstars Roger Federer and Serena Williams have pulled out of the star-studded tournament.
The after-shocks of the government of India’s demonetisation strike left IPTL boss Mahesh Bhupathi with no option but to cut down on the IPTL’s star power this season. The tournament had four franchise teams from India, Japan, UAE (Dubai) and Singapore.
It has already been a tough year for the International Premier Tennis League as it had to reduce its originally intended format of five cities to three. Absence of Federer and Serena will now hit ticket sales in Hyderabad.
Bhupathi, founder and Managing Director of IPTL, said in a media release on Tuesday that the Narendra Modi government’s demonetisation scheme as the prime reason behind the players’ withdrawal.
“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,” he said.
Besides Federer and Serena Williams, the likes of Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have played in the IPTL.
The 17-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer was the star attraction of the Indian Aces franchise, while the 22-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams represented Singapore Slammers.
The third season of the IPTL 2016 got under way on December 2, 2016 in Japan and after a stint in Singapore, the third and final leg will begin in Hyderabad from December 9-11.