Serena Williams’ Absence Deals Another Blow To The Troubled IPTL
The Singapore leg of this year’s International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) has suffered a setback following the withdrawal of Serena Williams.
The world No.2 was set to be one of the headline acts, playing for the home team Singapore Slammers. There has been no official confirmation about the reason for Williams’ withdrawal, but the Straits Times has reported that it was due to an organisational issue that has arisen over the past 48 hours.
“With the global economy struggling and ticket sales at what they are, we’ve reached out to Serena. She has been super supportive the last two seasons and we look forward to having her back next year.” An IPTL spokesman told sportinglife.com.
Williams was set to make her first public appearance in the sport since her loss in the semifinals of the US Open. She ended her season early after being troubled by a shoulder injury, forcing her to withdraw from the season ending WTA Finals.
The fiasco concerning Williams’ IPTL plans is the latest blow to the tournament, which had already been forced to reduce the tournaments from five venues to three due to financial issues.
“This season required us to make some difficult choices and we have worked hard to bring Season 2016 to life across three host cities.” IPTL Founder Mahesh Bhupathi recently said.
Speaking about the absence of the 22-time grand slam champion, Bhupathi confirmed that he was unable to finalise an agreement in time for the start of the event.
“We were trying to get it done and we’ve had some challenges financially.” He said.
“Serena has been supportive and she really wanted to come and play some matches before (the season starts in) Australia, but we couldn’t get all the ducks lined up.”
Earlier in the week Eugenie Bouchard was another no show, despite being advertised as participating in the lead up to the event. In the wake of the latest blip, it has been confirmed that the IPTL has slashed ticket prices for the Singapore tournament, reducing them by 40-50 per cent.
As a dark cloud covers the IPTL, proceedings are still ongoing. After the first leg in Tokyo, the UAE Royals currently head the standings with defending champions Slammers in third.