Plans for IPTL future put off until end of season

Organisers to decide on tweaks only after taking stock of 2014, writes Gary Meenaghan.
Roger Federer, right, has already suggested some tweaks to IPTL next season, according to Mahesh Bhupathi. Clive Brunskill / Getty Images
Roger Federer, right, has already suggested some tweaks to IPTL next season, according to Mahesh Bhupathi. Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

DUBAI // New cities, teams and rules are on the agenda for next year’s International Premier Tennis League, organisers said, but nothing will be confirmed until after an analysis of this season.

Mahesh Bhupathi, the founder of the four-team IPTL, said such has been the hectic schedule of the two-and-a-half weeks since the league started that planning for next year has taken a back seat.

Your guide to the IPTL in Dubai.

The IPTL calendar is expected to expand next season, with Thailand, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong all considering entering.

It is also not unreasonable to suggest that a tournament sponsored by Qatar Airways might visit Doha.

“The region is already very defined,” Bhupathi said. “We have interest in the Far East and the Middle East, and I have always said we would ideally like to see eight teams in the league, but we have to take the call internally once we finish up here.

“Luckily, for now, all we wanted was acceptance from the players and the fans and that is something we have.”

The unique format of the IPTL has seen it attract criticism for being confusing and disregarding the traditions of the game. Roger Federer has already suggested some tweaks for next year.

Bhupathi, however, says any changes will only be considered next year. “Not everybody is happy with every rule, but we have already made some tweaks early on,” he said. “We are open to all suggestions.”

Morgan Menahem, the IPTL chief executive, said several aspects of the league were being looked at, both on and off court.

“We have looked at playing with the players’ entrances and such,” Menahem said.

“Now is not the time to look at these things, but they will be looked at. We are trying to be different from regular tennis, but when you watch on TV and you see people walking around in the background, it doesn’t look so nice, so it’s about finding balance.”

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae

Follow our sports coverage on Twitter @SprtNationalUAE

Published: December 11, 2014 04:00 AM

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