Many of the world's top tennis players will compete in the newly-created International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) this winter.

The event is the brainchild of doubles specialist Manesh Bhupathi, and has been introduced following the success of cricket's Indian Premier League.

The league will take place in Asia with the five teams based in Hong Kong, Mumbai, Singapore, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. Teams will compete home and away between 28 November and 20 December.

The player auction takes place on Sunday 2 March, with the teams subject to a wage budget between $4 million and 10 million, competing to sign the top talent. Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal are scheduled to participate, while Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka have also committed.

Legends Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi will appear in a 'Past Champions' category, alongside Pat Rafter. Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova, arguably the most high-profile male and female players respectively, have no interest in competing, however, while China's Li Na has also declined the opportunity.

The format will be best of five set matches with one set of each match comprising of men's singles, women's singles, men's doubles, mixed doubles and men's legends. 

The events offers players the opportunity to prepare for the upcoming season, and also promotes the sport in one of its growing markets. However, there are concerns that the IPTL will add to an already grueling tennis calendar.

Many of the top players have criticized their rigorous schedules in the past, but appear to have been lured by lucrative appearance fees. Despite these concerns, the top players are entitled to limit the number of matches they play, and the cities in which they compete, in order to preserve their crucial pre-season preparations.

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Topics:
Tennis
Roger Federer
Rafael Nadal
Maria Sharapova
Serena Williams
Andy Murray
Novak Djokovic