Annoyed Bhupathi says IPTL will pan out as planned
There is no threat to the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL), veteran Indian tennis star Mahesh Bhupathi said on Saturday, asserting that none of the team owners have pulled out and a multi-year deal was firmly in place with the country's biggest broadcaster for his ambitious event.
Bhupathi woke up in Spain to frantic calls from the Indian media raising doubts about the future of IPTL in the wake of a pullout by PVP Ventures as claimed by a media report.
"Micromax are the owners of the Mumbai Franchisee. PVP Group along with Sachin Tendulkar were in talks but deadlines were not met," Bhupathi told PTI from Spain.
"Our league is structured in such a way that players have to be paid at regular intervals. PVP office told me that they are busy fighting elections in Andhra. Obviously payments could not wait, so we went on and got another team in India. I have an e-mail confirmation from PVP saying go ahead," the veteran star explained.
"PVP were in discussions to buy the India franchisee but unfortunately PVP got busy with elections and could not make payments timelines and hence we sourced another team."
Bhupathi also revealed that Micromax have chosen Delhi as venue so their matches will be played in the capital.
Bhupathi said he was "annoyed" with the media reports and it was baffling to see such an article.
"Everything is on track. In fact, in London, three days before the Wimbledon all the owners were there for a workshop and they all met the players. Rahul from Micromax met (Rafael) Nadal. Dubai owners met (Novak) Djokovic and Manila owners met (Andy) Murray, so there are no hiccups, contrary to what that media story says."
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Image: Mahesh Bhupathi
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com
'Any player, who is playing our league is signed exclusively to play IPTL only'
Bhupathi also made it clear that players in his league will not compete in any other event.
"Any player, who is playing our league is signed exclusively to play IPTL only," he said.
It was an interesting comment since Vijay Amritraj, who has launched the Champions Tennis League with AITA, had recently told PTI that players could play both the leagues.
There was also speculation that Boris Becker and Goran Invanisevic, who have signed up with IPTL, are expected to play in CTL as well.
Asked about CTL, Bhupathi said, "It's good for Indian tennis but I am still waiting to see which players are with them since all the players who have signed with us will play for us only."
Bhupathi also said that it has taken two-and-a-half years of hard work with his project and would prefer to focus on IPTL rather than dealing with this.
Bhupathi, who has 12 Grand Slam trophies, said all those talking about absence of a broadcaster for his league in India now know that, "We have signed a multi-year deal with the biggest broadcaster in India."
A source said the deal has been done with Star Network in India and IPTL has already closed deals in Serbia, Hungry, Slovakia, US also.
"There are so many great players, so everybody wants to watch them," the source in the thick of things said.
Bhupathi has one of the cricket legends in Sunil Gavaskar on board as co-owner of the Singapore Franchisee. The IPTL will kick off on November 28, two days after the conclusion of CTL.
Image: Rafael Nadal