The International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) has confirmed on Thursday that tennis superstars Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal will play in the Manila leg of the competition on December 6 to 8 at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City.
“I think the response in Manila would be the most exciting from our perspective,” said IPTL founder and director Mahesh Bhupathi in a videoconference on Thursday at the MOA.
Williams will be joining the Philippine Mavericks’ while Nadal will be with the Indian Aces. Williams, a five-time Wimbledon champion, is currently competing in the US Open. She is aiming to beat the record of Steffi Graf for the most number of grand slams.
“With the amazing teams and amazing crowd [last year], obviously, we are expecting something bigger and better this year especially Nadal, one of the greatest player in the game, got some Spanish blood which connects with Filipinos in general,” Bhupathi added.
According to Bhupathi, unlike Williams who is playing in all three days, Nadal will only be playing two days.
Bhupati said that there would be no change in the format only in the numbers of teams competing.
“The format is exactly the same as last year but because we have five teams now, one team [home team]gets to play every day.
The other players who have confirmed participation in the event are US Open champion Marin Cilic, Australian legend Mark Philippousis, top women players Sabine Lisicki of Germany and Jarmila Gadjosova of Slovakia, Croatian tennis prodigy Borna Coric and Filipino doubles specialist Treat Huey.