– says World No. 8 Andy Murray on his IPTL debut
Dubai, 29th October 2014: Fresh off his win at Valencia and Vienna, World No. 8 Andy Murray is participating in the inaugural International Premier Tennis League (IPTL), a pioneering new event that promises to revolutionize the way the world looks at tennis and transcend the popularity of the much-loved sport. Murray is pleased about the League, which brings the thrill of the well-liked format to a sport that is followed by millions across the world. “It’s definitely exciting to be part of it in the first year,” he says.
The new sporting spectacle will ‘Break the Code’ of the traditional etiquette of tennis, bringing the excitement of a team based competition. Talking about his love for team sport, Murray said, “I like the format. Tennis is an individual sport and you don’t get to interact with others during your matches that much. When I was younger I used to play a lot of football, and I always enjoyed being part of a team, so being able to have that feeling of being part of a team again will be good.”
Murray is playing for the Manila ‘Mavericks’, IPTL’s Manila franchise, alongside icons such as Maria Sharapova, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Kirsten Flipkens, Daniel Nestor, Carlos Moya and top Philippines player Treat Huey. “Playing in Manila will be fun. The fans there don’t get to see a lot of live tennis, so that will be good. With the season being so busy, it can be difficult to take a holiday so you don’t often get to travel anywhere different to the countries on the tour,” explains the 27-year-old star.
What’s more, with exciting features such as time-outs, power points, shoot outs, a running shot clock, Hawk-eye and live entertainment, the League promises to fulfill the increasing demand for top-level tennis in Asia. “Attracting new fans to the sport is important and I’m looking forward to helping take tennis somewhere new. The IPTL format is something that has never been done before and there are many different aspects that make it interesting. The shot clock is a great idea and will speed play up and make tennis even more exciting for the fans with the shorter breaks between points. The fact that every game counts toward the team score is also a great idea, you’re not just playing for yourself, you have to think about your team mates as well and put them in as strong a position as possible at the end of your own set in the match,” he exclaims.
28-year-old Treat Huey is the Philippines’ #1 and current ATP Doubles World No. 53. The player’s fans will get to see him live in action at a home event for the first time. Speaking about his home team-mate, Murray feels Treat is a great doubles player and happy that one of the teams is based in Manila for the player. “It’ll be a special time playing in front of his home crowd, which is something he probably would never have done before on this scale,” he says.
When asked if the weight of responsibility to Manila is on his shoulders, Murray laughs, going on to say, “We win as a team and we lose as a team and I’m sure we will all do our best to support each other. There are some great players in our team. I’m going to make sure I’m prepared and try to play as best as I can and enjoy the new experience. Obviously I don’t want to reveal too much, just in case our rivals are reading this!”
2014 has been a year of ups and downs for Murray. Being open about it, he says, “It has been tough. When I returned after my back surgery, it took much longer to get to back to full fitness than I had originally expected. It was a while until I felt like I could play at 100 per cent again. However, over the last few months I have started to feel back in that place and have had some great matches and some great results. It was great to win Shenzhen in its first ever year and I hope the Mavericks can do the same with the IPTL.”
Murray is often referred to as a sporting legend but feels he is still too young to be classed alongside people that would be given that title, explaining that he still has a few good years of my career left. I hope I can win more events and Grand Slams,” he says smiling. Murray will be visiting Manila for the first time and is looking forward to exploring the country. “Whenever I am in a new place, I like to try and take in some of the sights. I’ve heard the Intramuros in Manila is pretty spectacular. I have also heard of some great restaurants in the area, so I’m quite excited to explore. I am also hoping to meet an idol of mine, Manny Pacquiao, and I will try to get him along to a match. Am not sure what his tennis is like, but will happily give him a few tips!” he says.