PHNO HEADLINE NEWS EARLY THIS PAST WEEK

IPTL IN MANILA: MURRAY, CILIC, SHARAPOVA, IVANOVIC, WILLIAMS HEADLINE IPTL MANILA LEG 

NOV 28 --The Coca-Cola International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) presented by Qatar Airways promises to take the country by storm with the sport’s biggest stars playing for the first time before Filipino audience beginning Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena. The Andy Murray-Marin Cilic, Maria Sharapova-Kristina Mladenovic and the Ana Ivanovic-Daniel Hantuchova are just some of the big matches that will be highly-anticipated in the opener of the IPTL Manila leg. “We’ve received an incredible welcome here in Manila and we’re looking forward to great matches this weekend and in many years to come,” said IPTL Chief Executive Officer Morgan Menahem during the official press conference held at Edsa Shangri-La Hotel on Thursday. READ FULL REPORT..

ALSO: Sharapova repays adoring PH crowd with epic win

Maria Sharapova celebrates after an epic come-from-behind win against Kristina Mledanovic in her first singles match in the country. AJ Bolando/Philstar.com MANILA, Philippines – Maria Sharapova was regaled with a royal welcome from her adoring Filipino fans and she repaid that with an epic never-say-die victory in her first singles match here. Sharapova fought back from 2-5 deficit against Kristina Mledanovic to give the Manila Mavericks their lone win in their opening tie against the UAE Royals. “I didn’t want to lose my first singles match in Manila,” Sharapova said in the post-match interview to the roaring approval of the sizeable crowd that showed up in the opening day of the Coca-Cola International Premier Tennis League. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Sharapova leaves PH fans heartbroken

Maria Sharapova won hearts in her Manila debut but will leave the city heartbroken after losing twice in a row in her last stint in the inaugural International Premier Tennis League (IPTL). The world no. 2 Sharapova lost again in the mixed doubles with Andy Murray. But unlike Friday when they showed some toughness to come back and made it close in the end, this time, they were handed a clinical 1-6 loss. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Serena gets rousing welcome

PHOTO: Serena Williams in action in the final day of the Manila leg of the International Premier Tennis League at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday. AJ Bolando/Philstar.com MANILA, Philippines – World No. 1 Serena Williams received a rock star welcome that is befitting her status. But the American netter was caught by surprise that she is well-loved halfway across the globe. The crowd went crazy when Williams stepped on the court to warm up in her only appearance in the Manila leg of the inaugural International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) tour. “The reception has been amazing. Everyone was so nice. I mean, just walking out to the court to warm up and hear the crowd was spectacular and unexpected,” Williams said. “It’s really an honor to feel that.” READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Manila Mavericks Win!  

Andy Murray saved his best for last even as late replacement Mark Philippoussis gave the Manila Mavericks a huge lift that led to their breakthrough win in the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) before an electric Sunday crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena. Murray finally snapped his losing spell in the tournament as he hit it off with new mixed doubles partner Kirsten Flipkens to give world no. 1 Serena Williams – who was paired with Lleyton Hewitt – a rude welcome to the tour with a statement win, 6-1. Murray then outlasted rising Australian star Nick Kyrgios in a thrilling shootout to pull off a 6-5 win in the men’s singles that punctuated the team’s first win in the tournament. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Philippine tennis star Huey thrilled to handle Manila Mavericks

Fil-American doubles tennis star Treat Huey is excited to handle the star-studded Manila Mavericks team that will vie for the challenge trophy and the $1-million prize money in the inaugural Coca-Cola International Premier Tennis League set to fire off Friday at the Mall of Asia here. Huey will serve as the playing-coach of the home team that will be bannered by Grandslam champions Andy Murray, Maria Sharapova and French tennis star Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Daniel Nestor, Kirsten Flipkens and Carlos Moya complete the Mavericks. "As a playing-coach, I'm really excited to coach Andy Murray, Maria Sharapova, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and I'm really looking forward to it," Huey told Philstar.com after the press launch of the tournament presented by Qatar Airways. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO EARLY REPORT: THE IPTL 2014 Draft Results In Dubai last March 

RAFFY Nadal has withdrawn as he plans to use the off-season to prepare for 2015 after a year interrupted by injuries. Roger Federer has replaced Rafael Nadal in the inaugural International Premier Tennis League line-up. The International Premier Tennis League 2014 draft was on Sunday in Dubai, as many of the world's top tennis superstars and even past legends signed up to take part in the inaugural tournament. Prolific Grand Slam doubles player Mahesh Bhupathi was the man who backed this idea, and to his benefit, the event has drawn a ton of big names to ensure its success in the thriving United Arab Emirates city. With so many great athletes taking time to play a part in this epic showcase, which is scheduled between Nov. 28 and Dec. 20, per BBC Sport, five cities throughout Asia were selected as host sites. The four teams will be based in cities and will participate in a unique format. READ FULL REPORT BY THE BBC POSTED LAST MARCH 2, 2014...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

IPTL in Manila: Murray,Cilic, Sharapova, Ivanovic, Williams headline IPTL Manila leg


Some of the biggest tennis stars will headline the inaugural International Premier Tennis League tournament that will fire off in Manila this weekend.

MANILA, DECEMBER 1, 2014 (PHILSTAR) By Alder Almo – The Coca-Cola International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) presented by Qatar Airways promises to take the country by storm with the sport’s biggest stars playing for the first time before Filipino audience beginning Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Andy Murray-Marin Cilic, Maria Sharapova-Kristina Mladenovic and the Ana Ivanovic-Daniel Hantuchova are just some of the big matches that will be highly-anticipated in the opener of the IPTL Manila leg.

“We’ve received an incredible welcome here in Manila and we’re looking forward to great matches this weekend and in many years to come,” said IPTL Chief Executive Officer Morgan Menahem during the official press conference held at Edsa Shangri-La Hotel on Thursday.

Cilic, who was also at the press conference along with the Mavericks’ Filipino-American playing-coach Treat Huey, is upbeat on the innovative format that will feature timeouts, power points, shootouts, and running shot clock among others.

“Hopefully, we’ll see great events of tennis. I see this format to live long for many years,” Cilic, the reigning US Open champion, said.

Cilic will face Murray in the opening men’s singles match between the UAE Royals and the home team Manila Mavericks at 7:30 p.m. In the women’s singles match, Sharapova will go up against rising star Mladenovic, who replaced the injured world no. 8 Eugenie Bouchard.

Sharapova, who is scheduled to arrive before midnight, will have to shrug off jet lag in her debut on Philippine soil.

Huey will play in two doubles matches. The Fil-American Davis Cupper and three-time ATP doubles champion will first team up with Daniel Nestor in the men’s side going up against Cilic and Nenad Zimonjic. He will return on the court with Kirsten Flipkens in the mixed doubles against Mladenovic and Zimonjic.

In the legends match, it will be Mavericks’ Carlos Moya going up against Royals’ Goran Ivanisevic.

In the curtain-raiser at 4 p.m., the men’s singles match between Indian Aces’ Gael Monfils and Singapore Slammers’ Thomas Berdych will kick-off the franchise-based tournament.

All men will be glued on the women’s singles match between pretty tennis stars Hantuchova and Ivanovic.

Monfils will team up with Rohan Bopanna as they take on Lleyton Hewitt and Bruno Soares in the men’s doubles match.

Hantuchova will see action for the second time in the day in the mixed doubles pairing up with Soares as they go up against Bopanna and Sania Mirza.

Legends Fabrice Santoro will meet Patrick Rafter in the past champions singles match.

On Saturday, the most anticipated match will be the Sharapova-Ivanovic match while Serena Williams’ Philippine debut will highlight the Sunday matches.

Check the full schedule below:


FROM PHILSTAR

Sharapova repays adoring PH crowd with epic win By Alder Almo (philstar.com) | Updated November 29, 2014 - 12:26am 17 6973 googleplus1 2


Maria Sharapova celebrates after an epic come-from-behind win against Kristina Mledanovic in her first singles match in the country. AJ Bolando/Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines – Maria Sharapova was regaled with a royal welcome from her adoring Filipino fans and she repaid that with an epic never-say-die victory in her first singles match here.

Sharapova fought back from 2-5 deficit against Kristina Mledanovic to give the Manila Mavericks their lone win in their opening tie against the UAE Royals.

“I didn’t want to lose my first singles match in Manila,” Sharapova said in the post-match interview to the roaring approval of the sizeable crowd that showed up in the opening day of the Coca-Cola International Premier Tennis League.

Sharapova did not think twice to come over to Manila as she recognized that a big chunk of her social media followers came from this country.

And she did not want to spoil the night, not after losing in the mixed doubles with fellow Grand Slam winner Andy Murray earlier.

Read: Sharapova wins but Mavericks fall to Royals

Sharapova and Murray also rallied from 1-5 down to come within one, 4-5, against Nenad Zimonic and Mledanovic to the delight of the crowd. But they fell short in the end as the Royals took the set, 6-4.

Buoyed up by the 12,000-strong opening day crowd, Sharapova won a long rally to force a shootout in the singles match. She opened the five-minute tie-breaker with a 7-2 lead and never looked back.

As the clock was winding down, Sharapova regaled the crowd with a “raise-the-roof” victory dance.

She will have her hands full when she meets Ana Ivanovic in the highly-anticipated women’s singles match on Saturday.

Read: Ivanovic blanks Hantuchova as Aces beat Slammers in IPTL opener

Ivanovic blanked Daniela Hantuchova earlier in the day. But the night belonged to Sharapova, who was the clear-cut crowd favorite.


FROM PHILSTAR

Sharapova leaves PH fans heartbroken By Alder Almo (philstar.com) | Updated November 30, 2014 - 12:25am 44 1803 googleplus0 2


World no. 2 Maria Sharapova will leave the country heartbroken following two losses in a row, and three of four overall. She is hopeful to return next year. AJ Bolando/Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines – Maria Sharapova won hearts in her Manila debut but will leave the city heartbroken after losing twice in a row in her last stint in the inaugural International Premier Tennis League (IPTL).

The world no. 2 Sharapova lost again in the mixed doubles with Andy Murray.

But unlike Friday when they showed some toughness to come back and made it close in the end, this time, they were handed a clinical 1-6 loss.

Not even the goading of the electric home crowd could lift up their spirits as Sharapova and Murray, two great singles players, struggled mightily against mixed doubles Grand Slam winners Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza.

“I only played doubles when I was younger. It was my first time to play with Andy so that was a lot of fun. It’s always nice when two singles players come together to do something out there especially against players that are very good at doubles and have won Grand Slam titles,” Sharapova said.

Still reeling from that loss and the heavy pressure on her shoulder to score a 6-0 win, Sharapova could not sustain a great start. World no. 5 Ana Ivanovic evened the score in the next game and went on a roll after that and took a comfortable 4-1 lead.

READ: IN PHOTOS: IPTL 2014 Day 1 Highlights

Sharapova showed some signs of writing another epic comeback when she rallied to come within two, 3-5. But Ivanovic was more experienced than Kristina Mladenovic, who squandered a 5-2 lead to Sharapova last Friday.

Ivanovic killed a Sharapova comeback with the Happiness power point to clinch the win.

“She played really well today and their whole team was really competitive and we’re really into it and brought a lot of energy to the court,” Sharapova said.

The Russian tennis star though will no longer have the chance to re-write the heartbreaking ending to her first Manila stint as she will return to Russia to prepare for next year’s ATP Tour leaving the Manila Mavericks one superstar less for the rest of the tour.

“Unfortunately, I only committed to play two matches. Originally, I was only supposed to play one but I was asked to play the second one. I don’t think I will not be able to play a third one as I got to get back home and prepare for next year,” Sharapova said.

But the country made an indelible mark in her heart that she is looking forward to return next year.

“I’ve had an amazing time. It’s amazing country with really beautiful, beautiful people. I think it’s the most generous country I’ve ever been in. Everyone made my trip fantastic and I hope I’d be back next year,” Sharapova said.


FROM PHILSTAR

Serena gets rousing welcome By Alder Almo (philstar.com) | Updated December 1, 2014 - 12:56am 9 5 googleplus0 0


Serena Williams in action in the final day of the Manila leg of the International Premier Tennis League at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday. AJ Bolando/Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines – World No. 1 Serena Williams received a rock star welcome that is befitting her status.

But the American netter was caught by surprise that she is well-loved halfway across the globe.

The crowd went crazy when Williams stepped on the court to warm up in her only appearance in the Manila leg of the inaugural International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) tour.

“The reception has been amazing. Everyone was so nice. I mean, just walking out to the court to warm up and hear the crowd was spectacular and unexpected,” Williams said. “It’s really an honor to feel that.”

But Williams though took some time before she could show her spectacular shots that made her the best female tennis player in the world today.

Williams was paired with LLeyton Hewitt and they fared miserably against world no. 6 Andy Murray and 45th-ranked Kirsten Flipkens in the mixed doubles.

Despite her early struggles in that lackluster 1-6 loss, Williams was cheered on by the Filipino fans even if she was playing against the home team.

“I’ve never played and never been here. So it feels good to come to countries like this because you realize that we have fans everywhere so it’s really a good time and great opportunity to play here,” Williams said.

Regarded as the best female tennis player in history, Williams got stronger as the night wore on. She bounced back from the mixed doubles loss with clinical 6-3 win over Flipkens in the women’s singles.

It proved to be the lone bright spot in the night for the still winless Singapore Slammers.

Williams will fly to Singapore and hopes to help the Slammers get back in the team-based tournament that offers $1 million cash prize.

“We don’t really have that sense of urgency. We just know that we want to do well in Singapore and win our matches. We’ll probably change some of our strategies and go from there,” Williams said.

But win or lose, it looks like this will not be the last time that Phl fans will see Williams strut her wares here.

“I’m having so much fun. Pretty much all the top players are playing so I would love to give more time [to this tournament] in the future,” Williams said.

Attendance at the final day of the tournament was said to be greater than the first two days, something that can be attributed to Williams’ appearance.


FROM PHILSTAR

Manila Mavericks Win! By Alder Almo (philstar.com) | Updated December 1, 2014 - 12:29am 5 17 googleplus0 0


The Manila Mavericks Andy Murray celebrates with his teammates after his win over Nick Kyrgios of the Singapre Slammers in the men's singles in the final day of the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) Manila leg at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday. AJ Bolando/Philstar.com

Serena gets rousing welcome; Andy ends on a high

MANILA, Philippines – Andy Murray saved his best for last even as late replacement Mark Philippoussis gave the Manila Mavericks a huge lift that led to their breakthrough win in the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) before an electric Sunday crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Murray finally snapped his losing spell in the tournament as he hit it off with new mixed doubles partner Kirsten Flipkens to give world no. 1 Serena Williams – who was paired with Lleyton Hewitt – a rude welcome to the tour with a statement win, 6-1.

Murray then outlasted rising Australian star Nick Kyrgios in a thrilling shootout to pull off a 6-5 win in the men’s singles that punctuated the team’s first win in the tournament.

“It was nice to finish with two wins today. It was really a good atmosphere and the way we finished, I think, was quite a nice way. We couldn’t have done it better,” Murray said.

Earlier, it was the fast-serving Philippoussis who gave the Mavericks a tremendous boost when he defeated Pat Rafter in the legends game, 6-2. The Australian legend came in late as a replacement to injured Carlos Moya.

Treat Huey played his best game in the leg with the packed arena rooting for him and his partner Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as they fended off Thomas Berdych and Kyrgios in the men’s doubles, 6-5.

Huey and Tsonga did the latter’s trademark celebratory dance after winning the shootout that kept the crowd on its feet.

“Treat played really well. It seems that he’s enjoying playing with Jo-Wilfried,” Murray said.

Their 6-5 win gave the home team a comfortable 12-7 cushion. Murray and Flipken’s surprising easy win against Williams and Hewitt practically sealed the win as they took a commanding 18-8 lead.

Without world No.2 Maria Sharapova to match Williams, the Mavericks lost the women’s singles as the world No. 1 overpowered Flipkens, 6-3, in Singapore Slammers’ lone win in the match.

Murray could not have written a better ending to his first IPTL tour that he is hoping to be back next year.

“The support was amazing. The players, as well, started to understand the format and it only gets better in time. We’ve really had a good time here and we were welcomed very well,” Murray said. “I hope to come back and play more next year.”

With Murray only committed to play in the Manila leg, Tsonga will take his spot in the singles play as the Mavericks look to keep the momentum going to the next weekend leg in Singapore.


FROM PHILSTAR

Philippine tennis star Huey thrilled to handle Manila Mavericks By Alder Almo (philstar.com) | Updated November 27, 2014 - 6:53pm 4 12 googleplus0 0


Treat Huey is the playing coach for the Manila Mavericks, who will see action in the inaugural International Premier Tennis League. Alder Almo Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines – Fil-American doubles tennis star Treat Huey is excited to handle the star-studded Manila Mavericks team that will vie for the challenge trophy and the $1-million prize money in the inaugural Coca-Cola International Premier Tennis League set to fire off Friday at the Mall of Asia here.

Huey will serve as the playing-coach of the home team that will be bannered by Grandslam champions Andy Murray, Maria Sharapova and French tennis star Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Daniel Nestor, Kirsten Flipkens and Carlos Moya complete the Mavericks.

"As a playing-coach, I'm really excited to coach Andy Murray, Maria Sharapova, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and I'm really looking forward to it," Huey told Philstar.com after the press launch of the tournament presented by Qatar Airways.

The Manila Mavericks will play the UAE Royals in the opener Friday, then take on the Micromax Indian Aces on Saturday and the Singapore Slammers on Sunday.

Murray and Sharapova, who are already on their way to Manila as of posting time, will open the Mavericks' campaign in the men's and women's singles matches.

Murray will clash with US Open champion Marin Cilic while Sharapova will play rising French tennis star Kristina Mladenovic, who replaced the injured world no. 8 Eugenie Bouchard in Friday's opening tie against the UAE Royals. Huey will be paired with Nestor in the men's doubles match against Cilic and Nenad Zimonjic. The Fil-American, who was born in Makati, will have Flipkens as her mixed doubles partner and will take on the pair of Miladenovic and Zimonjic. The legends match will feature Moya against Goran Ivanisevic.

"I've already talked to all the players on my team and everyone is excited for tomorrow," Huey said.

The playing-coach, who has won three ATP doubles titles with his partner Dominic Inglot of Great Britain, relishes the pressure of playing at home.

"It will be a lot fun. I don't think it as a pressure. I will enjoy every moment of the next three nights for sure," Huey said.

All the matches of the Mavericks will be played starting at 7:30 p.m. while the first tie is scheduled at 4:00 p.m. The organizers said that the MOA Arena gates will be opened as early as 3 p.m. for all the ticket holders.

On Saturday, all eyes will be on the singles match between Sharapova and Serbian Ana Ivanovic of Serbia in a match featuring two of the most beautiful women in tennis.

The Manila leg matches will be aired over Fox Sports and local TV partner Balls Channel.


EARLIER REPORT BY THE BBC POSTED AT BLEACHERSREPORT.COM

THE IPTL 2014 Draft Results In Dubai last MarchBy Matt Fitzgerald , Featured Columnist Mar 2, 2014


RAFFY Nadal has withdrawn as he plans to use the off-season to prepare for 2015 after a year interrupted by injuries. Roger Federer has replaced Rafael Nadal in the inaugural International Premier Tennis League line-up.

The International Premier Tennis League 2014 draft was on Sunday in Dubai, as many of the world's top tennis superstars and even past legends signed up to take part in the inaugural tournament.

Prolific Grand Slam doubles player Mahesh Bhupathi was the man who backed this idea, and to his benefit, the event has drawn a ton of big names to ensure its success in the thriving United Arab Emirates city.

With so many great athletes taking time to play a part in this epic showcase, which is scheduled between Nov. 28 and Dec. 20, per BBC Sport, five cities throughout Asia were selected as host sites. The four teams will be based in cities and will participate in a unique format.

Each team had roughly £6.6 million to spend during the draft to sign six to 10 marquee players, according to Sky Sports (h/t Naveen Ullal of International Business Times).

Below is a quick overview of the complete list of each team, courtesy of the IPTL's Twitter account:

It seems as though the players involved are sold on the cause, too. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was pleased to hear that his name was called during the draft for the Bangkok team, where he'll join the likes of Andy Murray among others:

A similar sentiment was reflected by Tomas Berdych, who is a part of the Singapore team:

One notable omission from the field is 17-time Grand Slam tournament winner Roger Federer, who just won his first singles title of 2014 in Dubai, but opted not to enter the draft and didn't know how well it would do.

All indications are that it's going well, though, and if players such as Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi can compete, surely Federer will be able to in the years to come.

With such a far away date and the end of his competitive career approaching, it makes sense that Federer played it safe by not partaking. However, he did express optimism about how well the tournament would do based on the appeal to the Asian market, per Times News Network's Prajwal Hegde:

"I don't know much about it to be honest. I just didn't sign up because I didn't want to. I first wanted to see it get off the ground. I wanted them to put in the work. They've already signed up a lot of other guys. I hope it's going to be successful, because there is definitely potential in the Asian market, so many people live here, a lot of tennis enthusiasts come from this part of the world. I hope it's going to be very successful. Who knows what's possible?"

Federer understands perhaps as well as anyone the value of globalizing one's brand. He's certainly done it from a personal standpoint with his tennis, but he's also a dynamic personality, fluent in multiple languages and has the charisma and innate star power to go with his on-court prowess.

In that regard, the International Premier Tennis League is a great opportunity to expand the reaches of tennis and take some of the game's modern greats to locations they wouldn't otherwise go to. The format is also unique in that it consists of five sets per match, with one set of men's singles, women's singles, doubles, mixed doubles and a fifth-set battle between legends as a tiebreaker, per Ullal.

The best players still active today were labeled as icons, with the men being Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Murray, Stanislas Wawrinka, Sampras and Agassi. Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki were labeled icons on the women's side.

All the talent appears to be rather evenly distributed across the board, with some excellent singles action on tap. It would be great to see legends like Sampras and Agassi battle again, or to see just one set of no-holds-barred action from the elite players who are used to grinding out matches and planning accordingly in three or five sets in the major tournaments.

That should also keep the players fresh and make this more of an attractive competition, based on the lack of physical strain it will take to be involved. What will be most interesting is to see how teams game plan in terms of doubles, because that should ultimately determined who wins overall. It should also see some world-class players in unusual doubles situations if their team must win a set to keep a match going.

All of those factors should result in a great, winning scenario for all involved—including tennis fans in parts of the world less frequented by players of this caliber. Sunday's draft served as another element to the excitement, and the anticipation will build as the 2014 calendar year progresses and many of these players continue writing their respective legacies.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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