International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) Chief Operating Officer Eric Gottschalk said that the upcoming IPTL tournament on November 28 to 30 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City featuring tennis superstars Maria Sharapova, Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and Carlos Moya would boost the popularity of tennis in the Philippines.
“Seventy percent of the capacity is already sold out so when November comes, I believe this venue will be filled,” Gottschalk told The Manila Times in an interview on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena. “Absolutely more Filipinos will play tennis once they see this tennis stars in real flesh.”
The other notable tennis players seeing action in the event are 1985 men’s doubles titleholder Daniel Nestor, Belgium’s 2013 Sports woman of the year Kirsten Flipkens and Filipino-American Treat Conrad Huey.
The Manila Mavericks will battle the United Arab Emirates squad on the opening day.
“The players are also excited to come over in Manila, according to their social networking sites. They really love to play in front of Filipino crowd,” added Gottschalk.
The tennis players will play in doubles, mixed doubles and legend’s singles in three days, six matches and 30 sets. The Philippines is the first stop of the tilt’s four-country tour and the Mavericks are gunning to take home the $1 million purse.
Gottschalk said that the IPTL has a long-term plan of conducting tournaments in the Philippines “It will be very promising because the commitment is 10 years,” he added.
Gottschalk also said that the local national tennis association should focus on grassroots development programs to produce world-class tennis players in the future.
“Absolutely. In every sport, grassroots development is very important. I believe a Filipino will rise to stardom in international tennis competition because of the IPTL tournament,” said Gottschalk. “The presence of tennis stars will influence the young players to pursue their tennis dreams.”