THE team concept of the International Premier Tennis League is definitely favoring the UAE Royals.
With their top stars not scheduled to play in the ongoing Manila leg of the tournament, the Royals have managed to put up an early lead in the IPTL against Grand Slam champions Maria Sharapova and Andy Murray with one more day to go in the competition.
The good start bodes well to the Royals, whose top stars, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Caroline Wozniacki, are competing in the other legs of the meet.
UAE netter Kristina Mladenovic said the Royals are definitely playing as a team in beating their star-studded opponents.
“We are really glad to be two wins up,” said Mladenovic, ranked 67th in the world but more known as a mixed doubles player. “We really have an amazing team.”
Before winning over the Singapore Slammers, 28-22, on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena, the Royals beat the Sharapova and Murray-backed Manila Mavericks, 29-24, to open their campaign Friday on a bright note.
“You see the other teams on paper, they have the champions. We also have amazing players but like yesterday, they had Tsonga, Murray, Sharapova, and we beat them.
“We also have a Grand Slam champion in Marin (Cilic), Goran, myself, but still you know what I mean, it’s not exactly the same,” said Mladenovic.
Without complaining, the French netter of Serbian descent said the Royals are winning without much fanfare as she believes they are more determined to win than the rest.
“It was funny that the crowd was against us because they have the big champions. But we are really having fun. Our strength maybe is that we wanted it more than the other teams.
"They may have the bigger names but we have the team spirit, enjoying ourselves, fistbumping. We are really enjoying ourselves,” said Mladenovic.