Olympics Begin In
Begin typing your search above and press return to search.


Tennis Premier League flexes its muscles for a thrilling fifth season

Tennis Premier League organizers give a sneak peek into Season 5 during a media session in Ahmedabad.

Tennis Premier League flexes its muscles for a thrilling fifth season

Dr. Balraj Shukla

Published: 11 Oct 2023 4:51 AM GMT

Ranked as the fifth-best sporting league by Forbes India, the Tennis Premier League gears up for a fifth season.

Scheduled to take place between 12th December to 17th December 2023, the TPL will feature eight city-based franchises whose teams will compete in 23 league matches before proceeding to the knockout stages.

Top-ranked Indian and International players will be a part of each team alongside a coach, mentor, and physiotherapist. The event is held at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Shivaji Sports Complex in Pune.

On Saturday, a press conference was held by the organizers of the TPL at the Ahmedabad Racquet Academy in Ahmedabad.

The conference was preceded by the Gujarat Open hosted by the TPL for various age groups. The primary panel in the conference consisted of Kunal Thakkur and Mrunal Jain (founders of TPL), Ramku Patgiri (owner of the Gujarat Panthers team), Sunil Vyas (mentor of Gujarat Panthers), Shrimal Bhatt (Secretary of Gujarat State Tennis Association) and Nayan Shah (Owner of Clear Premium Water).

(From L-R): Mrunal Jain, Nayan Shah, Ramku Patgiri, Shrimal Bhatt, Sunil Vyas, Kunal Thakkur

"Sometimes in life, you get a calling. I still remember that night when we (me and Kunal) were sitting and having dinner. And he said I want to do something for tennis. I have something in my hand. So, when the idea was shared I felt our synergies matched. The common theme was to promote the sport. When this ideation was noted down on paper, things just fell into place. And here we are with season 5. I think when you have good thought and good intention, things keep falling in place," said Mrunal Jain when asked about how the idea of the TPL was conceived.

A visionary entrepreneur, he further added optimistic lines for TPL that show promise as a career builder for emerging tennis players.

TPL is powered by the sponsorship of Clear Premium Water.

When asked about the inclination towards tennis, Nayan Shah said, "I never knew tennis. I just watched it a couple of times earlier. But my daughter started playing 2 years back. When I see this sport, I feel it needs to be promoted. I just hope people see beyond cricket and show their affinity to tennis as well."

This season, the Gujarat Panthers have managed to rope in Sumit Nagal, Karman Kaur Thandi, and Mukund Sasikumar in their team.

When asked about how they managed the finances in the auction, team owner Ramku Patgiri said, "We were lucky I would say. We followed the process. We had good intent. We had our eyes set on these players. And luckily, the way the bids went, we got Sumit. The design was such that when you choose somebody from the diamond category, a male, you can only select a female from the platinum category. So our goal was to get Karman and Sumit. So we chose Sumit, and luckily when the time came for Karman we had the necessary amount. People stopped bidding. So we just got lucky."

The Panthers have been mentored by veteran coach Sunil Vyas. He explained the role of a mentor in such leagues. "Now when you talk about preparation, to maintain the players well, it is the format that plays a very vital part. This is not a conventional format. It is only about playing 20 points. It is like the T20 of cricket.

Players have to be mentally sharp, wild, determined, and fit. This is not an individual tournament. So the mentor ensures that players develop a team-based mentality rather than an individual mentality."

Further, he went on to elaborate on the role of TPL in Indian tennis. "We are a cricketing nation. We are a cricketing country. We have not seen any other event like this (TPL) in the history of cricket. We have seen many people following the ongoing Asian Games. Similarly, I wish the same thing happens for us also. As a coach, I have been a little anti-cricket. Because there is a big difference in a world cup played between only 16 nations compared to a competitive event played between 150 nations."

Gujarat is currently showing immense potential to be one of the future hosts of the TPL. Adding light on the trend of sports switching to the league format gradually, GSTA secretary Shrimal Bhatt said, "League is the future of any sport. This is because of the mental thing that individual sport is going through. Very soon, the league will be on top of it. And TPL blends very nicely in the picture."

The conference was also a medium to announce the launch of the TPL app. The app features a list of all players, coaches, and tennis academies that are affiliated with the TPL.

The eight participating teams of this year's TPL are Gujarat Panthers, Pune Jaguars, Punjab Tigers, Hyderabad Strikers, Mumbai Leon Army, Delhi Binny's Brigade, Bengal Wizards, and Bengaluru SG Mavericks. Each team is promoted or has ownership stakes by Bollywood stars and former tennis players namely Sania Mirza, Leander Paes, Arjun Kapoor, Sonali Bendre, Taapsee Pannu, Rakul Preet Singh, Sonu Sood, and Malaika Arora Khan. The fifth season of TPL will also feature international tennis players like Ellen Perez, Ernests Gulbis, Lukas Rosol, and Maria Timofeeva.

The tournament features a point-based play wherein a match between two teams will be worth 80 points. Each match will have four games - men's singles, women's singles, men's doubles, and mixed doubles; each worth 20 points. The fifth season of the TPL will be aired on Sony Liv and Sony Sports Network.

Next Story