Roger Federer makes IPTL debut for Indian Aces

Roger Federer enjoyed a fine International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) debut as he helped the Indian Aces defeat Singapore Slammers 26-16.

 

The 17-time grand slam winner’s arrival dominated the build-up to the IPTL’s third leg in India and he did not disappoint in Delhi on Sunday, winning all three sets that he participated in.

An expectant crowd handed the Swiss a rousing reception as he entered the arena and he responded by teaming up with home-favourite Sania Mirza to defeat Daniela Hantuchova and Nick Kyrgios 6-0 in the mixed doubles.

Federer then teamed with Mirza’s Indian compatriot Rohan Bopanna to effortlessly defeat Lleyton Hewitt and Kyrgios 6-1 in the men’s doubles.

World number seven Tomas Berdych provided a sterner test in the men’s singles, but the 33-year-old was able to triumph 6-4 to further extend the Aces’ lead.

Having secured a maiden Davis Cup title last month, Federer is looking to add the inaugural IPTL to his glittering list of achievements and he feels the tournament’s unique format offers something different.

“It’s crazy but it’s good fun,” he said. “I definitely think there’s a place for this.

“It’s competitive, it’s serious but it’s still light-hearted. It was big, it was loud, it was different.”

Earlier, Pete Sampras – a winner of 14 slams – also made his Aces bow, but he slumped to a 6-2 loss to Pat Rafter in the legends set, but the Aces rounded off with a win when Ana Ivanovic overcame Hantuchova 6-5.

World number one Novak Djokovic also made his IPTL debut for the UAE Royals, but he and partner Nenad Zimonjic were beaten 6-5 by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Daniel Nestor, as the Royals lost 27-24 to the Manila Mavericks.

Mark Philippoussis’ 6-3 success over Goran Ivanisevic in the legends contest helped the Mavericks on their way, before US Open champion Maric Cilic reduced the deficit slightly for the Royals in his 6-5 victory over Tsonga.

Nestor and Kirsten Flipkens extended the Mavericks’ lead in the mixed doubles with a 6-2 win over Zimonjic and Kristina Mladenovic, and that proved enough for the win despite Caroline Wozniacki’s 8-4 win over Flipkens for the Royals.