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Top-ranked Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams drafted in IPTL league

Story highlights

  • International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) holds first draft
  • Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams to take part
  • Four teams based in cities in Asia
  • Roger Federer a notable absentee for Nov 27-Dec 14 event

The draft for the first edition of International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) Sunday has attracted the top ranked players in the men's and women's game, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams.

Teams based in Mumbai, Bangkok, Singapore and Dubai will contest the event from November 27-December 14 later this year with 24 matches taking place across the four host cities.

Spain's Nadal was picked for Mumbai, who also include 14-time grand slam legend Pete Sampras, while his WTA Tour counterpart Williams is in the Singapore line-up.

Novak Djokovic will feature for Dubai, with Wimbledon champion Andy Murray representing Bangkok.

The event is the brainchild of Indian doubles star Mahesh Bhupathi and the concept is modeled on cricket's Indian Premier League.

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A total sum of $23,975,000 was spent across the four teams, with Bhupathi delighted to have attracted a clutch of current and former champions.

"We've got some unbelievably strong teams. I think out of the 28 players that got drafted we have about 21 Grand Slam champions. We have 14 present and past number ones. It's a pretty blockbuster field," Bhupathi said.

The dates are during the off-season for both the ATP and WTA Tour, but there are some notable absentees with both Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova sitting it out.

Australian Open champion Li Na is also missing despite her popularity in Asia and her male counterpart Stanislas Wawrinka has joined fellow Swiss star Federer on the sidelines.

The matches will be in best-of-five format with single set contests in men's singles, women's singles, men's doubles, mixed doubles and past champions singles.

The schedule will see matches in Singapore, followed by Bangkok and Mumbai with the finale in Dubai.

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