The highly anticipated clash between the two legends of tennis – Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal – will be the prime attraction of the third leg of the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) which will be held in New Delhi from Thursday.
The two legends had a contrasting 2015 season before touching down the national capital for the high-profile event, which is the brainchild of India’s very own doubles hero Mahesh Bhupathi. Federer has been on an impressive redemption road this season while the Spanish player has endured his first season in a decade in which he has failed to annex a single Major title.
However that 18th Grand Slam title remained out of reach for Federer but he made two finals – US Open and Wimbledon – losing both times to world number one Novak Djokovic.
The fans will miss out on watching Djokovic, who was to play for Singapore Slammers, as the Serbian has pulled out of the event at the eleventh hour citing fatigue.
But other big names in men’s tennis – Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka – and some charming heroes of the past such as Marat Safin and Carlos Moya will be there.
The IPTL will also feature Indian stars in doubles world number one Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna, who will represent the home team, Indian Aces, while national tennis legend Leander Paes will use his skills for Japan Warriors.
Nadal, along with Sania and Bopanna, will form the team for defending champions Micromax Indians and are scheduled to clash with Philippine Mavericks in the second match of the opening day of the Delhi leg on Thursday.
The home team, which is on a roll having won three out of the four matches so far, also has world number five Agnieszka Radwanska, who ended the season with a bang by emerging as the WTA Finals champion.
The much-awaited men’s singles clash between Nadal and Federer, the two great rivals on tennis courts, is scheduled for December 12 when Indian Aces will take on UAE Royals in the last match of the Delhi leg.
Former world number one Ana Ivanovic and Australian prodigy Nick Kyrgios will also attract a lot of attention.
More than anything, it is a great opportunity for the Indian fans to see their tennis heroes live in action even if it is not competitive and not much is on stake.