Tennis: Serena's coming back

Tennis: Serena's coming back
Serena Williams at the WTA Finals

Last week, she enthralled fans and emerged victorious at the elite season-ending BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.

From Dec 2 to 4, tennis fans are in for another treat when American superstar Serena Williams returns for the Singapore leg of the inaugural International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

The world No. 1 will represent the "home" team Singapore Slammers, alongside tennis greats Andre Agassi and Patrick Rafter, and also current players such as Daniela Hantuchova and Lleyton Hewitt.

"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," said Williams (right).

The 33-year-old American has a huge following in Singapore and there are many fans who are looking forward to the 18-time Grand Slam champion's return.

"I can't wait to see her in action in December," said Emmanuel Phua, 20. "It's a great feeling knowing that I get to see a huge tennis icon on our shores twice in the space of just over a month."

Shahida Ariff, 37, said: "I'm excited to have Serena back. She wasn't at full fitness during the WTA Finals, so I can't wait to see how strong her serves are going to be at the IPTL."

The league, conceptualised by Indian tennis star Mahesh Bhupathi, will feature three other teams - Manila Mavericks, Micromax Indian Aces and UAE Royals - who will compete for the US$1 million ($1.27m) purse.

Matches are played over four legs from Nov 28 to Dec 13 in the Philippines, Singapore, India and the United Arab Emirates.

The star-studded teams comprise past, present and future tennis champions such as Pete Sampras, Tomas Berdych, Roger Federer, Ana Ivanovic and Nick Kyrgios.

There will also be the mouth-watering prospect of a rematch between Williams and her WTA Finals opponent Caroline Wozniacki, when the Slammers meet the latter's Royals.

NEW FORMAT

Fans will also get to see Williams partner Australian former world No. 1 Hewitt in the mixed doubles.

The IPTL promises an innovative spin to elite tennis, with exciting additions like time-outs, power points, shoot-outs, a running-shot clock and venues equipped with Hawk-Eye technology helping to ensure edge-of-the-seat action for spectators.

The traditional scoring format has also been changed to a single-set, no-advantage system which will not only intensify matches, but also speed up games to allow fans to watch 20 different top players competing in one evening.


This article was first published on October 30, 2014.
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