NEW TEAMS. NEW PLAYERS. That is the story of the Champions Tennis League 2015 draft which was conducted today in Mumbai.
With the exit of Delhi Dreams, and the entry of two new teams from Raipur and Nagpur, as well the pending announcement of one more team which could mean the exit of two more existing teams, it was a foregone conclusion that we would be witnessing brand new line-ups. The sixth team will be decided between Chennai, Bangalore and Pune.
Barring a handful of retentions, each team features fresh faces. The Mumbai franchise has bagged the flavour of the season, Flavia Pennetta, fresh from a US Open win, along with former Wimbledon champion Krajicek.
The players that will still play for the same side as the first season include Martina Hingis for Hyderabad Aces and Greg Rusedski for Punjab Marshalls. The Indian players who remain with their teams are Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan for Hyderabad Aces and Sriram Balaji for Mumbai Tennis Masters. The shift among the Indian players has come for Ramkumar Ramanathan from Bangalore Raptors to Team Raipur.
Some players who continue in the league have been been shuffled from one team to the other, with Jelena Jankovic and Kevin Anderson now part of Team Nagpur and Team Raipur respectively. Feliciano Lopez has moved from Raptors to join Jankovic at Team Nagpur. The other changes that have taken took place are Alize Cornet's move from Masters to Team Raipur, Saketh Myneni from Pune Marathas to Punjab Marshalls, where he will be joined by team-mate Marcos Baghdatis.
Reigning US Open champion Flavia Pennetta will play for Mumbai Masters while Swiss veteran Martina Hingis will represent Hyderabad Aces in this year's Champions Tennis League (CTL), following the players' draft here on Wednesday.
Indian tennis legend Vijay Amritraj, who is the mastermind behind this league, announced that the second season of the CTL will see 13 matches played over a two-week period from November 23 to December 6.
The first match will be played in Mumbai. The league will feature a total of six teams, of which five have been finalised. The sixth team will be selected from among Pune, Chennai and Bengaluru within 10 days.