The International Premier Tennis League (ITPL) has reduced its schedule for its third season, which will feature four teams competing in three cities. Roger Federer is scheduled to play for the Indian Aces team, which will mark his first appearance since Wimbledon.
The off-season league will hold matches in Hyderabad, Tokyo and Singapore, before a finals playoff scheduled for Hyderabad. A team from the United Arab Emirates will also compete, but only on the road.
The Philippines is not taking part in the league this season, with IPTL owner Mahesh Bhupathi citing political unrest in the country. He said the league plans to return to having teams in five cities, and played down suggestions it was being affected by economic problems.
The Indian team has changed locations, having been in Delhi a year ago. The league has not specified the amount of matches or which matches Federer will be playing.
The reduced field suggests that team owners have trimmed their previously generous budgets for attracting top players. Other than Federer, the biggest names scheduled to compete are Serena Williams, Kei Nishikori and Tomas Berdych. Other active pros participating include Nick Kyrgios, Feliciano Lopez, Fernando Verdasco, Ana Ivanovic, Eugenie Bouchard and Jelena Jankovic, along with doubles specialists including Martina Hingis, Sania Mirza, Daniel Nestor and Rohan Bopanna.
Prior IPTL players Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are not participating this year, and the field is also thinner further down the ranks.
Teams consist of six men’s and women’s players, along with a retired player as captain.