Kobe, Japan: World No 1 Novak Djokovic has pleaded fatigue for his decision not to compete in the second edition of the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) starting here on Wednesday and his franchise Singapore Slammers announced that Britain’s Andy Murray and Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka will join them.
Djokovic, the 11-time Major singles champion, played for the United Arab Emirates Royals in the inaugural edition, and the Serb was drafted by the Singapore Slammers for the second edition of the five-city league.
“I had a great experience in the inaugural edition of the IPTL and was eagerly looking forward to playing in the second season, especially in front of the home crowd in Singapore,” Djokovic said in a statement on Wednesday.
“It’s been a long year for me and my body needs some extra time to recover. I wish the team the very best and will join them next year.”
Both Murray and Wawrinka, both two-time Major winners, will be playing for Slammers, along with Nick Kyrgios, Belinda Bencic, Karolina Pliskova, Dustin Brown, Carlos Moya and Marcelo Melo.
Murray was part of the Manila Mavericks (re-christened ‘Philippine Mavericks’ in edition two) in the inaugural edition.
“We are glad to announce the return of Andy Murray and the debut of Stan Wawrinka in the IPTL. Both Murray and Wawrinka will add immense strength to the Slammers, upping the quality of tennis on display. Fans across the world can look forward to some exciting match-ups,” IPTL founder Mahesh Bhupathi said.
They join a formidable array of tennis superstars that include Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Kei Nishikori, Marin Cilic, Milos Raonic, Nick Kyrgios among others.
Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic, Kristina Mladenovic, Sania Mirza are just some of the names leading the women’s charge in the league.
On Wednesday, Royals face Slammers in the opener, while defending champions Indian Aces take on hosts Japanese Warriors.