WTA organisers do not view IPTL as a threat

WTA organisers do not view IPTL as a threat
Melissa Pine (right), the Women's Tennis Association's (WTA) Asia-Pacific vice president and tournament director of this year's WTA Championships in Singapore, speaks while Andrew Georgiou (left), WSG chief executive and Pierre Veyres (centre), regional head for Southeast Asia and chief executive officer for BNP Parbas Singapore, look on during a press conference in Singapore.

SINGAPORE - Organisers of the WTA Championships are not worried that the Oct 17-26 event in Singapore will make any less of an impact, given a possibility of the inaugural International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) taking place around the same time.

Having tennis in the limelight can only be a good thing, said event promoter World Sport Group's chief executive Andrew Georgiou.

"We've got the season-ending, official tournament with the top players in the world," he said.

"Any other tennis that happens around that is only going to help promote (it). The more interest we can generate around tennis, the more it's going to help our tournament, and it's going to help theirs as well."

The IPTL, the brainchild of Indian doubles player Mahesh Bhupathi, will hold its first edition in Bangkok, Dubai, Mumbai and Singapore during the off-season.

Top players such as Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have been drafted into various teams, with world No. 1 Serena Williams and former world No. 1 Andre Agassi the highest-profile names in the Singapore side.

The event was scheduled to kick off in Singapore from Nov 28-30 but these dates are likely to change to accommodate Agassi's schedule.

Georgiou noted that organisers of the WTA Championships, which will be held at the Singapore Sports Hub from this year until 2018, are expecting more than 100,000 people to attend the 10-day extravaganza.

"I don't see it (the IPTL) impacting us. I think we can make the pie bigger between the two of us," he said.

Added Melissa Pine, vice-president of WTA (Asia Pacific) and tournament director of the WTA Championships: "We don't have a lot of details on the IPTL.

"Exhibitions can be good for tennis. I think the critical aspect here is that players are managing their off-season time, balancing the promotional and financial opportunities with the critical element of health and recovery to get ready for the upcoming season.

"Promotion of the sport in Singapore is a good thing."

 


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