The 2015 International Premier Tennis League is set to kick-off on Wednesday in Kobe, Japan. We take a look at what the fans should look out for…
The second edition of the tournament welcomes the Japan Warriors, who become the fifth team of the star-studded event. The Warriors will be playing out of Kobe in Japan, the venue for the opening round of matches.
The second round will take place at the home of the Philippine Mavericks in Manila.
Defending champions Indian Aces make will be out to reclaim their silverware, using New Delhi as their base in the third round.
The 2014 runner's-up, UAE Royals, are sure to attract big crowds during their fourth round fixtures at the Aviation Club Tennis Centre.
The 2015 IPTL concludes in Singapore, home of the Singapore Slammers, who will be looking to improve on their last place finish from 2014.
The Kobe-based team will be lead by Japanese superstar Kei Nishikori and five-time grand slam winner Maria Sharapova. Former world number one Marit Safin will feature in the legend's singles while Leander Paes, considered to be one of the best doubles players in the world, will add impetus on the doubles court.
World number one Serena Williams and the big serving Milos Raonic will lead the charge for the Mavericks. Also inculded in the line-up are Richard Gasquet of France and Australian legend Mark Philippoussis.
Clay court King Rafael Nadal will be eager to continue his upward trend in form when he runs out for the defending champions. He will team up with French showman Gael Monfils and top ranked women's doubles star Sania Mirza of India.
Swiss Maestro Roger Federer will be sure to attract the fans wherever he goes. The Royals also have the likes of world number five Tomas Berdych and 2014 US Open winner Marin Cilic to call on. Everyone's favourite underdog, Goran Ivanisevic, will play in the legends match.
Much of the Slammers hopes will rest on the broad shoulders of Novak Djokovic. The world number one has had a superlative year, so one would expect it to continue in this short format. Australian bad boy Nick Kyrgios will also feature, while rising Swiss star Belinda Bencic will undoubtedly turn heads.
The teams compete in a customised round robin format of matches in each host city. The top two teams at the end of the round robin stage qualify for the final.
The league standings are determined on the basis of the win-loss percentage of overall games won versus lost therefore making every game played count. The two teams with the best win-loss ratios qualify for the finals.
Each match consists of five sets. However, each set will be different format. Men's singles, women's singles, mixed doubles, men's doubles and men's legends singles must all feature at some point throughout the five sets. The home team has some benefit in this regard, as they will decide the order of play.
A team will earn one point for each game won in the team's total. The team that wins the most games, therefore the most points, wins the match.
Kobe – December 2-4
Manila – December 6-8
New Delhi – Dcember 10-12
Dubai – December 14-16
Singapore – December 18-20