Serena Williams to return to S'pore in Dec for new league

Serena Williams to return to S'pore in Dec for new league

SINGAPORE - Fresh from her win at the WTA Finals, World No. 1 Serena Williams has expressed her excitement to return at the end of the year to represent the Singapore Slammers in a new tennis league at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

The inaugural International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) will be held here from Dec 2-4.

In a message to her Singaporean fans, Williams said: "I'm looking forward to coming back to Singapore and playing for the Singapore Slammers. I hope you'll be able to come out and enjoy a new format of tennis."

A key member of the 8-person Singapore Slammers team, Williams will compete alongside veterans Andre Agassi, Patrick Rafter and current stars Tomas Berdych, Daniela Hantuchova, Bruno Soares, Lleyton Hewitt and Nick Kyrgios.

The Singapore Slammers team will take on the Manila Mavericks, Micromax Indian Aces and UAE Royals at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

The IPTL league has a different scoring format. Instead of the traditional tabulation of scores, the format has been changed to single-set and there will be no-advantage scoring - which will effectively speed up the games and enable fans to experience 20 players competing in one evening. 

Matches will consist of 5 sets comprising men's singles, women's singles, men's doubles, mixed doubles and former champions' singles, with each game won counting as one point for the team total. The team with the most points won across all five sets wins the match.

There are also additions such as time outs, power points, shoot-outs, a running shot clock, and venues will be equipped with Hawk-Eye technology.

As part of the code-breaking new format, the IPTL will also see coaches playing a more prominent role than in conventional team tennis competitions.

Coaches will select the line-up of players to represent the team in each category, strategically calling for timeouts and substitutions based on player performances. 

Spearheading the Singapore Slammers is internationally respected tennis coach and doubles specialist Josh Eagle, who is the current Australian Davis Cup Coach and recipient of the Tennis Australia Elite Coaching Excellence Award.

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