The International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) is back for its third edition, which will start on 2 December in Japan. The season-ending exhibition features three legs this year, unlike the five-legged format in the previous two editions. There are only four teams this year, as Philippine Mavericks pulled out of the tournament.
IPTL 2016 starts in Saitama, Tokyo, followed by the second leg in Singapore and finally the third leg and the final in Hyderabad.
With an entertaining and frenetic style, the shortened format of the exhibition series comes with different rules and scoring system. The four IPTL teams will compete in a round robin format in each host city. The top two teams at the end of the group stage will qualify for the final, which will be held on 11 December in Hyderabad.
The format and rules:
The league standings are determined by the number of points scored during the round robin stage. Three points are awarded for every match win with one point awarded for a loss if the losing team wins at least 20 games.
Each match comprises five sets — men's singles, women's singles, men's doubles, mixed doubles and legend's singles. The home team decides the order of play. In case of matches with neutral teams, a coin toss determines who picks the order of play. Each team is allowed one substitution per set.
The league features a "shot clock" that keeps track of time during the match. Teams and players are allowed 20 seconds between service points, 90 seconds during changeovers, 50 seconds for a time out for coaching and three minutes during breaks between sets. Any team that defaults the shot clock loses a point.
IPTL also follows a 'no-let' rule on serves. Usually on the tennis tour, a player is required to redo a serve if the ball clips the net before landing in the service box. But this isn't followed in the league, making the game a lot faster.
Each set is won by the player who is first to add six games on the board, In case of both players reaching 5-5, the set is decided by a shoot-out. A 13-point tie-breaker is played to determine the winner, which means that the first player to reach seven points wins, with sudden death at 6-6.
Super shoot-out: If the two teams are tied with an equal number of games at the end of the fifth set, a super shoot-out determines the winner. The winner will be the first team to reach 10 points with sudden death at 9-9.
The IPTL also follows the 'no-ad' scoring. Once a game reaches 40-40, there is no advantage point, and the outcome of the deuce point decides the game.
Power Point: A receiving player or team can call a 'power point' to indicate that the next point counts as double for the receiving player or team only. Each team can call a power point only once per set and once in a super shoot-out.
Japan Warriors: Kei Nishikori, Fernando Verdasco, Kurumi Nara, Jelena Jankovic, Fernando Gonzalez, Marat Safin, Jean-Julien Rojer
UAE Royals: Tomas Berdych, Pablo Cuevas, Ana Ivanovic, Martina Hingis, Goran Ivanisevic, Thomas Johansson, Daniel Nestor
OUE Singapore Slammers: Serena Williams, Nick Kyrgios, Marcos Baghdatis, Kiki Bertens, Carlos Moya, Rainer Schuettler, Marcelo Melo
Indian Aces: Roger Federer, Feliciano Lopez, Ivan Dodig, Eugenie Bouchard, Thomas Enqvist, Mark Philippoussis , Sania Mirza, Rohan Bopanna