first_imgInternational Premier Tennis League (IPTL) founder Mahesh Bhupathi has had to face many challenges in organising the tournament this year. But the ace tennis player has managed to overcome all the hurdles and showcased a curtailed version of the popular tennis extravaganza which is set to end in Hyderabad on Sunday.The IPTL, which was launched in 2014, has been grabbing eyeballs all around the world thanks to its unique concept and rules. The past two seasons proved to be extremely successful and consisted of five tournaments played in five different cities around the globe. But this year due to financial issues the tournament has been cut down from five to three. Losing big ticket players Roger Federer and Serena Williams just before the start of the League was also a big blow.But Bhupathi, who is the brainchild behind this tournament, has promised his fans and viewers that the IPTL will bounce back harder next year with a much bigger show on offer.”Despite the challenges our goal was to keep the IPTL afloat this year, so that it gives us the opportunity to bounce back next year.”A lot of people told me that ideally we should suspend it this year but I think that would have killed the IPTL. We are happy we’re almost through, a good weekend in Hyderabad and we’ll finish on a high,” Bhupathi told India Today’s Consulting Editor Boria Majumdar in an exclusive interview.Indian tennis queen Sania Mirza says the players who have participated in the IPTL this year and in the past two seasons, have loved playing in the tournaments.advertisement”It’s a concept that everybody has loved as soon as it started a couple of years ago. The players love to compete and be in this environment, its an amazing format and its different for us as well. But having said that, like Mahesh said, it was difficult there were a lot of questions about it before it started but I think atleast our team (Indian Aces), whatever we speak to them, everyone’s really happy and want to come back next year and hopefully we can,” Sania said.IPTL stands out from the Grand Slams and the regular tennis tournaments which take place throughout the year and is perhaps the only innovation that modern tennis has seen in a long time. The league has gained popularity in a very short span of time and Bhupathi is really proud of what the two-year-old league has been able to achieve so far.”We are very excited, as Sania said, lot of people have loved the format. The broadcasters, sponsors and players they really took to it. So it’s something that we want to keep at and we want to keep growing at and I think there is a lot of potential in it. We just have to stabilise after this year and continue down that path,” Bhupathi added.On the personal front Sania has had a fantastic year so far with a Grand Slam (Australian Open) and 8 tournament wins to her credit. She also managed to hold on to her No. 1 rank in women’s doubles and is now aiming to better her performances in 2017.”It’s been a good year winning a Slam, winning eight tournaments and finishing No. 1 in doubles, you cannot ask for a better year. Last few years have been very good for me. I’m really happy to get into another year as No. 1 and put myself in a position to try and win more slams.”On her goals in 2017, Sania said, “As tennis players we always have goals otherwise we wouldn’t be playing tennis. That’s just how we are, a bit greedy I guess so…. If it was in my hands I would love to win everything that I play obviously winning Slams is the goal at this point and I’ll try and win as many as I can before I stop,” Sania concluded.IPTL 2016 will conclude in Hyderabad with Indian Aces taking on Singapore Slammers in the final on Sunday.last_img

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