Lhuillier, Mavericks air side over missing IPTL season 3
The Philippine Mavericks lashed out at the organizers of the International Premier Tennis League, saying their failure to fulfill commitments led to the team skipping the current season.
With the Mavericks out of the ongoing IPTL Season 3, owners including Jean Henri Lhuillier, Haresh Hiranand, Kevin Belmonte and the SM Group finally aired their side of the absence.
The IPTL is led by former tennis star Mahesh Bhupati.
The owners recently met at Manila Polo Club and came up with a statement amid reports coming out in foreign newspapers that the franchise is cash-strapped and the country can’t stage an IPTL leg due to political trouble.
According to the statement the group came up with, it was the IPTL which was unable to fulfill its obligations to the franchise for last year’s Season 2.
“This is the exact situation that the Philippine Mavericks was trying to avoid as we knew there was so much internal problems within the IPTL organization this year,” said Lhuillier.
Among the IPTL’s failures, he said, included late announcement of the schedule and ticket selling dates, which was only done a month before. In the previous two seasons, the IPTL released its draft by June and the schedule soon after.
The IPTL, an innovative league held at the end of the year to draw more fans into the sport by tinkering with traditional rules, also suffered a blow after global superstars Roger Federer and Serena Williams begged off at the last minute.
Fans took to IPTL Facebook page to cry out their protest, prompting the league to come up with schemes for ticket upgrade or refund.
“As for the political turmoil, we as businessmen know very well to say the business and political climate in the country is sound enough to stage an IPTL leg,” said Hiranand.
Belmonte said the Philippine Mavericks joined the IPTL “ready and committed for the long haul.”
Maria Sharapova and Andy Murray played on local soil for the first time when they led the Mavericks in 2014. Filipino star Treat Huey is also a regular fixture in the team.
Last year, Serena Williams and Milos Raonic carried the fight for the Mavericks, facing off with the likes of Rafael Nadal.