Top tennis stars in CTL action from November 23

Hyderabad :Martina Hingis, Flavia Pennetta, Jelena Jankovic, Thomas Johansson and other top tennis players would cross swords when the Champions Tennis League (CTL) 2015 begins on November 23.

After a successful inaugural edition last year, the Vijay Amritraj-promoted tournament would begin in Mumbai and it will see 13 matches being played over a two-week period.

The event would conclude with a grand finale in Hyderabad on December six, Amritraj told reporters today.
CTL features six city-based teams across the country, put into two zones, he said.

“Each zone has three teams, where all teams play each other in a home and away format. The team winning the highest number of games in their respective zone will play each other in the grand finale to win the prize money of Rs one crore. The runner-up would win Rs 50 lakhs,” he said.

The six teams include Punjab Marshalls, Mumbai Tennis Masters, Raipur Rangers, Nagpur Orangers, Hyderabad Aces and an yet to be announced sixth team.

“Over the years, I always said that we only had the Chennai Open as the international tennis event in India. Champions Tennis League brings international tennis, world class tennis to different cities across India. We have Indian Davis Cup players who are part of each team to participate alongside great champions.

“And, we will also have two juniors in each team, one boy and one girl, to learn and experience what it is to be alongside these great champions,” Amritraj said.

The Hyderabad Aces comprises Hingis, Ivo Karlovic, Thomas Johansson, Jeevan Neduncheziyan and the two juniors Sathwika Sama and Adil Kalyanpur.

Amritraj said the CTL is delighted to have Hingis, who has been having a great run for some time now in the company of India’s star player Sania Mirza in the doubles category in international tennis.

Replying to a query, he said Indian players are doing well in doubles and that things need to improve in others.

“Most of our performance has come in doubles. It is critical for us in men’s tennis to make the world group in Davis cup, top 16 teams, that you have to have players in the top 100, hopefully in the top 50, to make the world group. If you do not have players in top 50, top 35, you are going to struggle to make the world group.

“Because everyone there is in the top 20, top 25. So it is difficult unless you do that. Similarly, in the Fed Cup as well amongst women,” he said.

Asked about India’s medal prospects in the Rio Olympics, he said tennis is a “non-seasonal sport” that is played almost throughout the year and that the players mainly look forward to the next Grand Slam event.

The tennis players would not look forward to the Olympics like their counterparts in athletics would do, he said.