World no. 10 Milos Raonic joins Serena Williams in IPTL Manila Leg
Milos Raonic, the current top 10 men’s singles player in the world, will join forces with tennis superstar Serena Williams in the second edition of the International Premier Tennis League.
ITPL director Mahesh Bhupathi announced on Thursday that Raonic, a Canadian whose resume includes six career titles, is the latest
addition to the Philippine Mavericks during the tennis showcase from December 6 to 8 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Both the 24-year-old Raonic and Williams, the first female pro to earn over $60 million in prize money, stand to increase the market value of the Mavericks with former Aussie star Mark Philippousis, Croatian Borna Coric, Richard Gasquet and Jo Tsonga of France and Filipino doubles specialist Treat Huey.
“She’ll be in Manila for three nights to play for the Mavericks. It’s going to be a big night with Serena there,’’ said Bhupathi in a video interview with the media at the Premier Cafe of the MOA Arena.
“I assure you that the quality of the games is going to be much higher than last year,’’ added Bhupathi, the first Indian to win a Grand Slam tournament.
Tennis eye-candy Maria Sharapova will no longer be around but nine-time French Open men’s singles champion Rafael Nadal of Spain is set to headline the defending champion Micromax Indian Aces.
Joining “Rafa” at the Aces are Croatia’s Ivan Dodig, ranked 29th in the world and Indian stars Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna, Poland’s Agniezka Radwanska and Fabrice Santoro of France.
The UAE Royals will have Ana Ivanovic, ATP singles tournament No. 6 Tomas Berdych, Kristina Mladenovic, Daniel Nestor and Goran Ivanisevic
while Nick Kyrgios, Carlos Moya, Dustin Brown, Karolina Pliskova, Belinda Bencic and Marcelo Melo play for the Singapore Slammers.
Organizers also unveiled the Japan Warriors, a new squad to be spearheaded by two-time Grand Slam champion Marat Safin, Daniela Hantuchova, Kurumi Nara, Lucas Pouille, Leander Paes and Vasek Pospisil.
“Japan is a big market and the sport constantly keeps on growing,” said Bhupathi, who mentioned China, Vietnam, Jakarta and Hong Kong as
possible additions in the 2017 edition of the league.
He added this year’s champion in the finale to be held in Singapore will pocket US$1 million while the runner-up earns $500,000.
The Mavericks take on the UAE Royals on Dec. 6 before playing the Japan Warriors and Indian Aces over the next two days.
Other players confirmed to play in Manila are last year’s US Open champ Marin Cilic, top women players Sabine Lisicki of Germany, Jarmila Gadjosova of Slovakia and Croatian tennis prodigy Borna Coric.
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