NEW DELHI - Fourteen times grand slam winner Rafa Nadal has dealt a big blow to organisers of this year's International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) by pulling out of the inaugural event citing health problems.
"We regret to announce that due to health reasons, #RafaelNadal will not be playing in the #IPTL. We're rooting for you, #GetWellSoonRafa!" IPTL said in a tweet Monday.
The 28-year-old Spaniard also pulled out of the US Open last month, after failing to recover from a right wrist injury he sustained in practice.
Nadal and retired American Pete Sampras, who also has 14 grand slam wins, were slated to team up for the Indian franchise in the four-team event, scheduled to be held from Nov. 28 to Dec. 13 across.
Philippines, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates are home to the other teams and will each host a leg of the competition, styled on cricket's Indian Premier League and offering prize money of $29.7 million.
Men's world number one Novak Djokovic, his women's counterpart Serena Williams, Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and former women's top-ranked players Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic and Caroline Wozniacki have also confirmed their participation.
The teams will compete in men's and women's singles, men's and mixed doubles and a men's legends singles with one set per match, and no advantage scoring.