New Delhi, Aug 1 (IANS) In a bid to cater to the growing popularity of tennis in India and to give a platform to the nation’s young talents, the Tennis Premier League (TPL) announced on Thursday that the second edition of the league will be held from December 12 at the Celebration Sports Club in Mumbai.
A total of eight teams comprising the top 88 players from the country across categories will battle it out for the coveted title.
While veteran tennis star Leander Paes will have a stake in the Mumbai franchise, Bollywood actor Sonali Bendre will also own a franchisee. The teams in TPL will comprise men’s and women’s players, besides girl’s U-18, boys U-14 and wheelchair participants.
In order to give the new talents a platform, the U-18 girls and U-14 boys players will be picked through talent hunts in four cities — Ahmedabad (October 20), Mumbai (October 23), Hyderabad (November 3) and Delhi (November 10). The registrations for the talent days will commence on August 5 and end on October 5.
Founded by ex-national player Kunal Thakkur and actor/entrepreneur Mrunal Jain, TPL successfully hosted its first season last year with the support of prominent Bollywood actors and sports personalities such as Aishwarya Rai Bachan and Leander Paes.
With a total prize purse of Rs 60 lakh, the event will see some of the leading male and female players of the country in action. Arjun Khade will lead the men’s field while Ankita Raina will be the top female player in the tournament.
The league is affiliated to the All India Tennis Association (AITA) and will be conducted under the supervision of the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA).
When asked about the initiative, Leander said: “Tennis in India needs this push to help the youngsters showcase their talent under the guidance and support of the mentors. I’m happy to be associated with TPL for the second year. I hope this league will promote the sport in our country.”