Tennis reforms to revolutionise the sport
Mahesh Bhupathi & Justin Gimelstob's International Premier Tennis League proposal currently under review
Mahesh Bhupathi and Justin Gimelstop have come up with an idea which will revolutionise tennis, creating greater desire to watch the sport, increasing the fan bases and simply formatting the sport differently to make it more entertaining.
Their idea? The International Premier Tennis League.
The general concept is to create franchises in major cities all over the world and have them compete against each other in a league format.
Each team is to compete in 5 sets - with a no advantage scoring method applied - one from each of the following categories; Men's singles, Men's Doubles, Women's Singles, Mixed Doubles and Legend's Singles.
Bhupathi feels that the introduction of teams can turn an individual sport into something with more of a team feel about it, much like the Davis Cup.
Similar to the likes of the National Football League, National Basketball League and the Indian Premier League, Bhupathi and Gimelstop want to introduce an auction or draft for all of the top players in the world.
This approach has worked wonders for the American sports and the IPL in terms of creating an excitement for the main event before any sport is even played.
The spectacle created by the IPL auction every year sees all of the world's best gathered in a room with the owners of the franchises trying to outbid each other, with millions of people tuning in to see what unfolds.
Imagine the same type of event occurred in tennis. Novak Djokovic, the most coveted player in the world, steps up. Every owner wants him. How much will he go for? Will he be more expensive than Andy Murray? What about Serena Williams? Even the thought of what may happen should there be a tennis auction makes the mind boggle.
Another reason the International Premier Tennis League is such a forward thinking concept is that the harsh reality is that many people across the world have very little interest in tennis, only tuning in for certain tournaments, like Wimbledon.
But this competition sees the best competing with each other in a shorter, more compact format, making it less boring for those that wouldn't usually watch tennis.
The introduction of music and cheerleaders, developments that have seen the IPL become a world-wide point of interest, would also add to the excitement, especially for the male audience.
Bhupathi says that there has been a "great response" from television about the proposal and several possible team locations have already been lined up including Hong Kong and Singapore.
The players are also backing the introduction of the IPTL, with the likes of Murray, Djokovic, Serena Williams and Pete Sampras all showing their support.
The induction of a new league could well put tennis on the map as one of the major spectator sports followed worldwide year round and if the league grows, in several years the sport could have as many viewers as major events like Premier League football, the Superbowl and the World Cup.
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