• Murray, Sharapova lead top tennis stars playing in Manila

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    tennis20140725Top tennis stars led by British Andy Murray and Russian Maria Sharapova will regale local fans when they play in the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) on November 28 to 30 at the Araneta Coliseum.

    IPTL Chief Operating Officer Eric Gottschalk told reporters on Thursday he is expecting capacity crowds at the tournament.

    “It’s absolutely a huge tennis event and we are all very excited,” said Gottschalk. “I will be disappointed if we don’t have a ten thousand crowd per night in three days.”

    The league groups the players into teams that will compete in the stages that will be held in several Asian capitals.

    Murray, 27, the first British player to win the Wimbledon in 77 years, grand slam winner Sharapova will be playing for the Manila Mavericks alongside Canadian Dennis Nestor, Filipino Treat Huey, Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens, French Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and Spanish Carlos Moya.

    They will be competing against the Serena Williams and Ana Ivanovic who will suit up for Singapore Slammers, Indian Aces and United Arab Emirates Royals.

    Gottschalk said that the world’s no. 1 and no. 2 players, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, may not be playing in Manila, the league’s first stop.

    From Manila, the IPTL will travel to Singapore on December 2 to 4, New Delhi on December 6 to 8 and Dubai on December 11 to 13.

    Philippine Tennis Association President Mayor Edwin Olivarez said the event will boost tennis development in the country and inspire young players.

    “To have the best players in the world competing in this unique team tennis competition will only encourage more players to take up tennis and help develop the sport in the Philippines,” said Olivarez.

    “We are also very happy to see that our Philippines No. 1 and current ATP doubles top 30 Treat Huey has joined the Manila Team and it will be great to see him live in action.”

    A Fil-American, Huey is a doubles specialist.

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