THE International Premier Tennis League assured fans in Manila it won’t make the same mistake the organizers of the 'Last Home Stand' made in July.
Fans were disappointed when what was supposed to be a tune-up game between Gilas Pilipinas and a team of NBA stars was reduced into a drills session after the basketball standouts were barred from playing in the unsanctioned event.
The IPTL assured there won't be a repeat of the letdown, promising that Maria Sharapova, Andy Murray, Serena Williams, Ana Ivanovic, Daniela Hantuchova, and Eugenie Bouchard, among others, will come to strut their wares in the tournament’s inaugural leg from November 28 to 30 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“The issue with the NBA a few months back actually put a bit of skepticism to people’s mind,” IPTL chief operating officer Eric Gottschalk said. “But we wanted to make sure that people understand that when we announced our players, our players will come. So it’s not a wait-and-see and maybe.”
“And it’s a real competition, not an exhibition,” the IPTL official was quick to add of the revolutionary tennis tournament following non-traditional rules aimed at making the game more exciting.
Gottschalk clarified that not all the stars in the lineups can make it, with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal only lined up in the other legs slated in Singapore, India, and Dubai.
On the other hand, Sharapova and Murray are only set to play in Manila.
“There was some confusion: 'Is Fed or Rafa going to play here?'" Gottschalk said. “We have all the four teams coming, but just like in football, you have a roster then you have another roster that will travel to the cities.”
“It (Last Home stand issue) made us be a little more careful in approaching the market as we also wanted to make sure that we transmit the right message,” the German national added.
But the players announced to participate in the Manila leg will be present.
“Unless they’re injured, these players will come.”