Dubai: The founder of the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) believes the competition could boast twice as many teams by 2020.
Mahesh Bhupathi, who is behind the unique four-team competition being played among franchises based in different cities in Asia, said that the goal of the event was to reach a maximum of eight sides within the next six years.
The competition got underway in Manila at the end of November before moving on to Singapore and then New Delhi, before its final stop in Dubai this weekend.
“Our region is already very well defined this year with teams from the Far East, the Middle East and the subcontinent. Presently, there is interest from other cities due to the success of this competition. But we are not in a hurry, and by the middle of January we will be able to announce the next franchise,” Bhupathi told media.
“Manila was fantastic, Singapore was good and India was amazing from the crowd perspective. We still have to see how good we do in Dubai. The idea always is to finish strong here and start planning for the second edition.”
Bhupathi also stressed on the fact that an increase in the number of teams would mean an automatic increase in the number of participating cities.
“The idea is always going to be one team per country and that will not change. We want to take things step by step and our ultimate goal is to reach eight teams by 2020,” he said.
Along with the initial baby steps, Bhupathi is looking towards a complete, compact tennis package with the introduction of tweaked rules to take the sport forward.
“We are trying to make it as time-sensitive as possible. We want to make this perfect. We’ve made the changes and it is up to the ATP or the WTA to adopt these changes. Tennis is a very individual sport and, with a platform like this, it was pretty obvious to see how much the players have enjoyed these changes.”