Maria Sharapova bemoans International Premier Tennis League rules

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The International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) - being likened to tennis' version of T20 cricket - is in full flow with its inaugural competition and the quirks are giving Asian fans the chance to see the sort of action unlike anything we've seen in the sport before. However, Maria Sharapova has been upset by one new feature.

Among the new format of match-play - five sets of different contests - is a shot timer which only allows for 20 seconds between points to aid fast and frenetic action, but the ticking clock has irked the Russian.

A ringing alarm-clock in the morning is perhaps the worst sound known to mankind, and Sharapova has likened the timer to that fateful noise.

"I feel like pressing 'snooze' all the time," she told reporters, though she did find the funny side of it.


There is a sense of irony over the 27-year-old's annoyance at the shot timer, she is one of the players who, in real tennis, is often criticised for her lack of urgency when it comes to her service game. 

As recently as the US Open, rumours of a rift were rife between Sharapova and fellow female tennis star Ana Ivanovic; partly because of the former's time-keeping issues.

"I think some players take way too long between the points," Ivanovic said at the time, seemingly hinting in Sharapova's direction, during a press conference back in the Autumn. 


Although both Ivanovic and Sharapova played each other for a set in the ITPL (Ivanovic won), there is unlikely to be any more bites towards one another, such is the jovial atmosphere being exuded.

Sharapova, the Russian superstar, is one of the biggest attractions in the league and plays for the 'Manila Mavericks' alongside Andy Murray, Jo Wilfried-Tsonga as well as the retired Carlos Moya. 

The Manila based team have been anything but thrillers thus far in the tournament. Aside from her loss to Ivanovic, Sharapova also tasted defeat alongside Andy Murray against the UAE Royals in the mixed doubles.


Perhaps it's the team's struggle to adapt to things like the shot clock which has hindered their progress. Moya, who won the 1998 French Open before retiring in 2010, also spoke out against the noisy reminder.

"We're used to playing in quiet conditions since we were kids so every little noise kind of disturbs us," the 38-year-old admitted.

The new rules are a far cry from the traditional Grand Slams and their more conservative ways. Tournament organisers believe the IPTL is the future of the sport, but that remains to be seen. If it is the future, however, they may have to have a re-think on the shot clock, at least. 

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