Serena Williams, IPTL
The inaugural edition of the IPTL has been a successReuters

International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) founder Mahesh Bhupathi has confirmed the competition would add two more cities next year and also revealed they were forced to turn down interest from two others.

The inaugural edition of the IPTL, which kicked off in Manila last week, introduced a new shortened and faster format of tennis to the world audience.

Manila Mavericks, Singapore Slammers, Indian Aces and UAE Royals are the four teams competing in the IPTL this year. The four-city, team-based tournament also features most of the biggest names in the sport now, including Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova

The fast and exciting format, team-based play and the presence of top players, a DJ and cheerleaders have made the IPTL quite popular already. The fans turned up in big numbers for every match so far in both Philippines and Singapore, while a similar response is expected in both India and UAE too.

Bhupathi refused to name the two new teams but stated that four cities were in the reckoning initially.

"I've got a line of people waiting outside my door," the doubles veteran told journalists in Singapore. "We would like to take tennis ideally to cities that don't have this kind of world-class entertainment or sport."

"We're definitely going to add two cities next year. We have a lot of interest now, we have about four cities ready to sign on the dotted line by the end of next month.

"We unfortunately can't do all four, just for the sustainability of slow and steady growth, so we'll take two and we'll announce them probably when we announce our players in the week of February 14."

Bhupathi also thanked the fans and organisers for the tremendous response and stressed that the players are delighted with the hospitality.

"In Manila last week, they haven't seen world-class tennis ever and it was very heartening to see the fans receive the players. They were treated like the Beatles, especially Maria (Sharapova) and Andy (Murray)," the Indian ace pointed out.

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