Hyderabad: Hyderabad has another reason to rejoice in the sport of tennis apart from Sania Mirza — the Aces — which will be a part of the inaugural edition of the Champions Tennis League (CTL). Speaking at the unveiling of the team on Thursday, CTL chief Vijay Amritraj said, “I am proud that Hyderabad is a part of the CTL and hopefully the tennis fans enjoy watching the international players play in this lovely city.”
“It’s good to be back. I have some very fond memories of this city in my playing days,” he added.Martina Hingis and Venus Williams will kickoff the 10-day tournament here as the Hyderabad Aces taking on Bengaluru Raptors on November 17 at the Lal Bahadur Stadium. The Aces, which recently replaced the Chennai franchise, comprise Mark Philippoussis (captain), Mikhail Youzhny, Hingis and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan while the Raptors have Thomas Enqvist, Feliciano Lopez, Venus Williams and Ramakumar Rama-nathan in their squad.On November 18, the Aces will play the team from Pune.
The reverse round will be played on November 21 in Bengaluru and on November 23 in Pune.The Champions Tennis League will showcase six teams Hyderabad Aces, Mumbai, Bangalore Raptors, Pune, Delhi Dreams and Chandigarh playing 13 matches. The teams, divided into two groups of three each, would play each other in a home and away format over 10 days. The group-toppers will qualify for the final, which will be played in Delhi for a prize money of Rs1 crore.
Amritraj was upbeat about the League. “The best thing about the CTL is that it is India centric and will cater to the Indian sports fans, who can watch their stars play. We have one Davis Cup player in each team along with the international players. It will be a huge boost for them to play at the bigger level,” he said.
“Apart from the Indian Davis Cup players two upcoming local level players one male and one female according to their AITA rankings will be a part of each team. They will travel along with the team and stand to learn a lot from their idols,” Amritraj added. Explaining the format, Amritraj said, “The League will be played in a tie format Legends singles, Mixed doubles, Women’s singles, Men’s doubles and Men’s singles. In-case of a tie-break, the team with the highest aggregate number of games in the group will advance to the final.”
The Indian tennis legend is also looking forward to have some really spicy Hyderabadi biryani. “Wherever I go, people ask me about the Hyderabadi biryani. I had it the last time I was here. I hope the internationals have the opportunity to taste it but with not too much of spice,” Amritraj laughed.