A few days ago, Aita announced the Indian Tennis League (ITL), which has been inspired by cricket’s Indian Premier League (IPL) and the World Team Tennis (WTT), held every summer in the US. Initial expectations include attracting some of the biggest, recently retired names in world tennis to this event.
ITL – Indian Tennis League
Following the success of the IPL, the AITA has decided to launch a league of its own, the Indian Tennis League, to popularize the game in the country. This step is to be lauded because though Indian tennis has had some high profile achievers over the years such as the Krishnans, Ramesh & Ramanathan, the Amritrajs, Vijay & Anand (A reminder, that before Bhupathi & Paes, the Amritraj brothers were the pioneers in doubles tennis , they were seldom ousted before the quarters in any Grand Slam , and this was when top players such as McEnroe did not disdain from playing doubles), Zeeshan Ali (Poor Zeeshan! Few remember the heights he climbed as a junior tennis player; He was India’s great tennis hope until he was eclipsed by the emergence of Leander Paes & then Mahesh Bhupathi), Paes , Bhupathi, SomdevDevvarman, and of course Sania Mirza (who has been in the news for quite different reasons, and for some reason seems to resemble a model or film star in her public appearances!), tennis, as a sport ,has remained the domain of an elite few. One of the reasons , of course, is the lack of adequate infrastructure and the dominating presence (read pressure) of cricket that looms large over all other sports.
Quote of the day:
If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, what is the significance of a clean desk? – Laurence J. Peter
An International Star & An Indian Icon
Each ITL franchise will have a former tennis great – an international star, and an Indian icon. The league will be played in December which is the mildest time of the year w.r.t weather and thus less strenuous on the players. Also, the reason for sticking with past greats, is that it is highly unlikely that current players are willing to forego their 2 weeks of rest & recuperation from tennis. Remember, the tennis schedule is cramped and the December break is the only breather that players have from their rushed schedules before the Australian Open.
The floating of the ITL just goes to prove that it is the quality of play that attracts audiences and that’s what AITA is banking on. It will be interesting to see how the league takes off & performs and whether it can attract even 10% of the audience and mega-bucks that the IPL has.
I, for one, will eagerly await the chance to watch international tennis stars in our own backyard.
Have a great day!