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Hewitt keen on tennis Premier League


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Lleyton Hewitt has committed to the tennis equivalent of cricket’s Indian Premier League, set to launch in November.

The inaugural International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) season, from November 28 to December 20, will involve teams in Bangkok, Singapore, Mumbai, Kuala Lumpur, plus one or two more yet-to-be-confirmed cities, at least one of which will be in the Middle East.

While Hewitt confirmed his involvement in Melbourne on Tuesday, organisers were unwilling to give away other names ahead of what they said would be player announcements in coming weeks.

But stars including Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Serena Williams have previously expressed some interest, with past greats such as Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi also reportedly interested.

Co-founder Mahesh Bhupathi, a successful doubles specialist, said players were excited about the potential boost to their earnings.

“From a player’s perspective, players have been shouting about more prize money for a long time. This is a very positive impact for the players,” he said.

Teams must include between six and 10 players, with a salary cap of $US10 million ($A11.4 million) and minimum of $US4 million ($A4.55 million).

Each match will include one set each of men’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s singles, women’s doubles and legends’ singles.

The games will have no-advantage scoring and the sets will have tiebreakers at 5-5 to keep them short, so the five sets combined will take about three hours to suit broadcasters.

Teams will play each of their rivals home and away, before the top two play off to decide the champion.

Hewitt said the chance to play alongside legends and be part of a team environment, during what is normally the tennis off-season, excited him.

“For me to get quality matches in the month of December, sometimes it’s very hard those first couple weeks going in before the Australian Open. In a lot of ways, it’s huge positives,” Hewitt said.

A draft will be held on March 2 in Dubai, with players to be separated into categories such as legends, icons and the future of tennis, each with their own pay scale.

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