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Rediff.com  » Sports » Blow for Bhupathi as Sharapova, Li Na snub IPL-style tennis league

Blow for Bhupathi as Sharapova, Li Na snub IPL-style tennis league

Last updated on: February 28, 2014 14:36 IST

Blow for Bhupathi as Sharapova, Li Na snub IPL-style tennis league

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Rediff Sports Desk

The inaugural International Premier Tennis League, which has borrowed its format from the lucrative Twenty20 cricket tournament, the Indian Premier League, suffered a blow when two of the world's most-famous female players.

Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova and China's Li Na have reportedly withdrawn from the fledgling ITPL that is set to make its debut in Asia in November.

Modelled on the lines of the cash-rich IPL, the tournament is the brainchild of Indian tennis star Mahesh Bhupathi, who is hoping to secure the likes of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, with Roger Federer having opted out from the tournament.


Image: Maria Sharapova during a promotional event


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Sharapova, who is often listed as the world's richest female athlete by Forbes, transcends tennis and has long been a magnet for sponsors, while Li is one of the marquee names in Asia, having captured a second Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January.


Image: Maria Sharapova
Photographs: Matt King/Getty Images

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According to CNN, Max Eisenbud, the agent of both Maria Sharapova and Li Na, expressed doubts over the tournament's workability, saying neither of the two players would be appearing in the team tournament, although he added that it would be great for tennis if the tournament takes off.


Image: Li Na of China poses with the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup at Brighton Beach, after winning the 2014 Australian Open
Photographs: Graham Denholm/Getty Images

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The tournament sees five teams based in Mumbai, Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and another city, yet to be officially revealed, play each other over a roughly three-week period.

Matches will be contested over five sets, but will employ no-ad scoring, with one set to be played in each of men's singles, women's singles, men's doubles, mixed doubles and legends doubles, the report added.


Image: Mahesh Bhupathi during a press conference.
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

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