Last year, our Sports Issue was framed by the first-ever International Premier Tennis League, a tournament that brought together some of the sport’s biggest names and up-and-comers to meet the demand for top-level tennis throughout Asia. Players were drafted into city-based teams to represent each of the venues in which the tournament would take place—in 2014, the Manila Mavericks hosted superstars Maria Sharapova, Andy Murray, Carlos Moya, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, Kirsten Flipkens, Daniel Nestor, and Treat Huey. After several legs of matches, the Micromax Indian Aces emerged the overall tournament winner.
This December, IPTL is back and bigger than before with Japan joining the fray. As with last year’s edition, the tournament will take place over several legs of matches in each participating country, kicking off in Kobe on the 2nd of December and closing on December 20 in Singapore.
We’ve put together a simple guide to the Philippine leg of the IPTL, spilling the basic details on who’s who, when and where to go, and how to get tickets.
All matches of the Philippine leg will take place at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila.
Matches will take place between December 6 to 8. The fixed schedule of matches, based on a round robin format, can be found here.
There will be two matches each day, each match consisting of five sets—men’s singles, women’s singles, mixed doubles, men’s doubles, and men’s legend’s doubles—the order of which will be determined by the home team, unless the match is between two neutral teams, in which case the order is decided by the winner of a coin toss.
In each set, every game won is a point in the team’s total scoring. The scoring system for the IPTL is no-advantage, which means that each set is a race to six games, regardless of how many points puts the winning team is ahead. If in any set the score is tied at 5-5 games, there is a shoot-out tiebreaker to determine the winner.
Typically, the final set will be played until the team with the highest overall score for the match wins the final game. However, if the second-placed team for that match wins the set and is behind in the overall score, the set continues until the first-placed team wins one more game or until the second-placed team catches up, leading to a Super Shoot-Out, a tiebreaking race to 10 in a Men’s Singles format that counts as one point in the overall score.
A Shot Clock regulates the times between service points, during changeovers, and during breaks between sets. If a team runs out the Shot Clock, they lose a point.
Receiving players can call a Coca-Cola Power Point only once per set, which doubles the value of the next point.
Either team may also call for a Coach’s Time-Out at any point in each set. The Time-Out will only last a minute. A player may also call for an Injury Time-Out at any point of the match, which consists of a two-minute assessment period and a three-minute treatment period. If the player cannot continue the game after the five minutes, his or her team forfeits the set.
The matches will be tracked by Hawk-Eye Review, which will allow players to challenge points scored by their opponents.
You’ve seen some of the team already, but here are the biggest tricks up our sleeve this year: