Best and worst of Manila greet Murray
TENNIS superstar Andy Murray had a taste of the country’s best and the worst just hours after landing in Manila on Thursday afternoon from London.
“It takes a lot of time to get around here because of the traffic,” Murray said in a talk with some Filipino guests during a welcome dinner at Edsa Shangri-La for the past and present tennis greats, who arrived in the country to play in the inaugural International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) Thursday night.
Murray may have been greeted by Manila’s horrendous traffic, but the two-time Grand Slam champ also received a warm reception from no less than Filipino boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao.
A professed boxing fan, Murray exchanged small talk with Pacquiao, whom he congratulated for recently winning over Chris Algieri. He asked if the eight-division world boxing champion also won his pro basketball game.
“No, we lost,” Pacquiao, playing coach of the KIA Sorento in the PBA, replied with a laugh.
Organizers said Murray had been “asking for months” about a possible meeting with Pacquiao before playing for the Manila Mavericks in the IPTL, a unique tournament that assembles world tennis legends into teams battling for the $1-million top prize.
“I think it’s nice for the players to do new things,” said Murray, the singles gold medalist in the 2012 London Olympics. “We’re always competing as individuals. It’s nice to be part of a team, playing with and alongside great players.”
Although Murray knows that basketball and boxing rule this side of the world, he’s just glad to give Filipino tennis diehards a treat.
“I think this event is great,” he said. “For the tennis fans to … get to watch some of the best players is fantastic.”
The 27-year-old Murray and world tennis poster girl Maria Sharapova lead the Mavericks along with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Carlos Moya, Kirsten Flipkens, Daniel Nestor and Fil-Am Treat Huey.
Also in town are Gael Monfils and Ana Ivanovic, who banner the Indian Aces that also include Rohan Bopanna, Rohan Santoro and Sania Mirza.
Reigning US Open champion Marin Cilic head the United Arab Emirates Royals of Goran Ivanisevic, Kristina Mladenovic and Nemad Zimonjik, while the Singapore Slammers boast of Tomas Berdych, Lleyton Hewitt, Bruno Soares, Daniela Hantuchova and Patrick Rafter.
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