World No. 1 Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal headline a veritable galaxy of tennis superstars seeing action in the second edition of the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) in December.
Williams, already the winner of 20 Grand Slam women’s singles titles, banners the Philippine Mavericks this time in the Dec. 6 to 8 showcase at Mall of Asia Arena.
“It’s bigger and better this year,” said Clementine Apacible, project leader of the IPTL Manila Leg, during the PSA Forum yesterday at Shakey’s Malate.
“We have 40 icons compared to 27 last year. It’s all for Philippine sports. We get inspiration with the level of play of these athletes.”
Nadal heads to Manila for the first time to suit up for the Indian Aces, which ruled the inaugural event last year behind Gael Monfils and Ana Ivanovic.
Other teams competing in the tournament —which pits current tennis stars, legends and rising players in a unique format—are the Singapore Slammers, United Arab Emirates Royals and the debuting Japan Warriors.
Maria Sharapova, the sport’s poster girl who was the biggest draw here last year, brings her charm and talent to the Warriors after starring for the Mavericks.
Other tennis greats also listed to see action in the five-city tour are World No. 1 Novak Djokovic for the Slammers and Roger Federer for the Royals.
Williams, who saw action for the Slammers last year, joins Fil-Am doubles specialist Treat Huey in the Mavericks team along with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Mark Philippoussis, Richard Gasquet, Borna Coric, Jarmila Gajdosova and Sabine Lisicki.
“It’s a treat that they’ll be here,” said national tennis team coach Roland Kraut. “Imagine the impact it had on the kids last year. They were able to interact with the players.”
Early-bird promo tickets are available at SM Tickets until August with the three-day VIP pass priced at P49,000, patron at P40,000 and lower box at P23,000.