IPTL may have just struck upon an audacious formula as it takes tennis to newer audiences

first_imgRoger Federer (left) and Sania Mirza during their mixed doubles match of the IPTL league in delhi.It was a rally that lasted 16 shots. Each laden with power, precision and sublime skill and each cheered lustily by a 15,000-strong raucous crowd at the Indira Gandhi Stadium in Delhi. The world’s,Roger Federer (left) and Sania Mirza during their mixed doubles match of the IPTL league in delhi.It was a rally that lasted 16 shots. Each laden with power, precision and sublime skill and each cheered lustily by a 15,000-strong raucous crowd at the Indira Gandhi Stadium in Delhi. The world’s two best sporting gladiators, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, were doing everything to enthral and entertain, to compete and win. It was competitiveness of the very highest pedigree, rubbishing all scorn that the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) is no more than exhibition tennis masquerading as a league. That not a soul had moved till 11.20 p.m. braving the chill outside was proof that the IPTL, world tennis’ newest kid on the block, is here to stay.Laden with innovation and backed by broadcast and corporate support from the likes of Star and Coca-Cola, the inaugural season has been a success by every yardstick. But can it be sustained and can the league be made economically viable in the long term? Can team owners who are likely to have paid $4-5 million as licensing fee to own a franchise expect to get their money back? Are players’ salaries, estimated to be a total of $ 15-million plus, justified? Finally, can Mahesh Bhupathi and his team well and truly ‘break the code’? For the longest time tennis has remained immune to change. While embracing baseline technology and other such technical advancement, the very kernel of the sport has remained unchanged. Most matches continue to be played for five or three sets, Davis Cup encounters are still played over three days, the number of games won by players has little consequence in the larger scheme of things and there is never a time limit to how long a match can continue. A Grand Slam semi-final can get over in under an hour or continue for five hours or more.advertisementThe IPTL has changed all of this. By making each match a single-set affair, the well thought-out spectacle has ensured that five matches are completed in three hours or so, allowing broadcasters to plan television schedules to perfection. Speaking on the innovation, Mahesh Bhupathi, the prime mover behind the league, says, “Ours is the only sport where we can’t put a time quotient to a match. A Wimbledon semi-final can get over in an hour and it can also go on for five-and-a-half hours. Even in cricket you can put a time cap. For all our broadcasters, Sky in the UK, Singtel in Singapore, ESPN in Brazil, Star in India we have been able to put a time cap for matches. What we have done is put a shot clock inside the courts- there can’t be more than a 20 second gap between points. The moment a point is over, the shot clock will start to tick. It should make the game faster and more interesting.”While the naysayers will always have some words to say, there’s little doubt that team tennis in the form of the Davis Cup is commercially difficult to sustain. Spread over three days, it doesn’t give much to the broadcaster or the sponsor. In contrast, the IPTL offers its partners a viable package. With the very best in action, the broadcaster is assured of eyeballs and the sponsor of packed stadiums.By getting some of the biggest names associated with the modern game on his roster, Bhupathi has already won the first set. “We never intended it to be a challenge to the circuit. The Grand Slams will forever remain the pinnacle of our sport. But just like in cricket, in tennis too both formats can co-exist,” says a confident Bhupathi at the end of the Delhi leg of the league.Clearly the biggest coup for the IPTL has been the signing of Roger Federer. At some level, Federer is bigger than the sport itself. He is associated with everything that is good about tennis-competitive but never ultra-aggressive and perhaps the most complete player ever. Federer committing to the concept has been a huge point won. And for Indian fans to be able to watch Federer play Djokovic in Delhi was a real bonanza for a few thousand rupees. Never had these two legends played in India and in that sense Delhi’s signature match-up was a real toast for sports fans.Speaking on the concept and if he thinks it can be sustained in the long term, Federer emphasises the importance of getting the best players to Asia. “You don’t always get the world’s best players to play in these parts of the world. By taking the league to Manila, Singapore, Delhi and Dubai, the IPTL has opened up new constituencies for tennis. It is always important to increase the fan base for the sport and this I think is an important task accomplished,” said Federer.advertisementDjokovic, his arch rival and the current world number one and who was earliest among the mega icons to commit to the league, agrees. “Mahesh had approached me a year-and-a-half back and I immediately sensed the potential of the format. For example, I had never come to India. It is because of the IPTL that I could come to Delhi and play here. People loved the tennis and there’s no doubt the support base will only continue to grow in the years to come.” While the players have loved the experience, sceptics have questioned the economics of the league. The moot question is, can the owners of the four franchises ever aspire to make a profit? Bhupathi is cautiously optimistic. “Some teams will break even in three years and others in five. The response has been tremendous and we are already planning to increase the number of teams to eight by 2020. Just check the corporates who have come on board and you will realise that each of them believes in the concept.”Sunil Gavaskar, the co-owner of Singapore Slammers, suggests that by ensuring every team has an equal chance, the organisers have ensured that IPTL is a level playing field, which in the long term is expected to help its economics. “When the opportunity arose to buy a stake into an IPTL team, I was very excited by the idea. It is a terrific concept, is a unique format where every team has an equal chance, and it will surely catch on with fans who will be getting a great opportunity to seeing the very best of tennis in action. With every match being a set each, there are no favourites for a start. The top players are able to make a comeback in Grand Slams even if they lose a set but here with a set being the decider, it will always be a very open competition.” While the tournament may not have been won yet, there’s no doubt that the IPTL is already two sets up in a fiveset final.Boria Majumdar is consulting editor (sports), India Today GroupTo read more, get your copy of India Today here.last_img read more

10 months agoMan Utd midfielder Matic: Attack and run more – that’s Solskjaer’s message

first_imgMan Utd midfielder Matic: Attack and run more – that’s Solskjaer’s messageby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic admits caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has urged the players to be more adventurous.Solskjaer kicked off his reign with a 5-1 win at Cardiff City.”He had only two days with us but we had a few meetings,” revealed Matic.”He said we need to play more forward, to be more dangerous in attack, to run more, to compete with everything.”And that’s exactly what we did today and we are happy because of that.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

a month agoSouthampton boss Hasenhuttl: Slow start cost us

first_imgSouthampton boss Hasenhuttl: Slow start cost usby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveSouthampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl felt a slow start wrecked their chances in defeat to Bournemouth.Nathan Ake and Harry Wilson scored first-half goals with Callum Wilson clinching the win late on after James Ward-Prowse gave the Saints hope.“The first half was too bad to get a point,” said Hasenhüttl.“We lost this game in the first half. We haven’t showed a few of the qualities we showed in the last games.“The second half was completely different. We really tried to stress them, we won nearly every second ball and 26 shots on goal in 90 minutes is also not so bad, but these stats are not so interesting.“What’s interesting is the goals, but we couldn’t score more today, so it was not the result we wanted.”The Saints boss continued: “We knew it would be a difficult game today and we knew Bournemouth are strong in counter-attacks.“They didn’t have that many chances, but for the first one from the corner, we lost one duel in the centre and it’s a goal.“We invested a lot. I think everybody saw that we tried until the last minute to turn the table, but in the end we didn’t. We have to keep our heads up and move forward.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

12 hours agoRoma striker Dzeko blasts: It hit Smalling’s face!

first_imgAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Roma striker Dzeko blasts: It hit Smalling’s face!by Carlos Volcano12 hours agoSend to a friendShare the loveAS Roma striker Edin Dzeko slammed ref Willie Collum after their 1-1 draw with Europa League opponents Borussia Monchengladbach.Nicolò Zaniolo had Roma in front with a header, but deep into stoppages the referee awarded a penalty in the Europa League match for handball, even though it clearly hit Chris Smalling in the face.“It’s a serious error that cannot happen at this level. It changes the result, the whole game, the group,” Dzeko told Sky Sport Italia.“Now we have another three games where anything could happen. A victory today would’ve made everything easier. I just don’t understand the referee, he was so sure that he was right, but I’d seen it hit Smalling in the face. When I saw the replay on television, it’s just incredible.“The referee kept insisting it was a penalty, I told him it was his face and not the hand. You could see the mark on Smalling’s face where the ball hit him.“You can’t give a penalty like that at the 95th minute. It’s unacceptable. We ran no risks at all in the second half and we’ve lost two points here. We can’t do anything about it now, we have to look forward.” last_img read more

Kentucky vs. Stony Brook – Game Time, TV Channel, Announcers, Betting Line, Predictions

first_imgCoach Cal talking to Jamal Murray.LEXINGTON, KY – JANUARY 23: John Calipari the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats gives instructions to Jamal Murray #23 in the game against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Rupp Arena on January 23, 2016 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Tyler UlisTyler UlisThe 2016 NCAA Tournament Bracket was just revealed on CBS. The Kentucky Wildcats out of the SEC earned the No. 4 seed in the East region, where they will face the 13th-seeded Stony Brook Seawolves out of the America East Conference. Each team won its respective conference tournament. The winner of this match-up is rewarded with a meeting against the winner of fifth-seeded Indiana and No. 12 seed Chattanooga.Date: Thursday, March 17Time: 9:30 p.m. E.T. TV Channel: CBSLocation: Des MoinesAnnouncers: Nantz/Hill/Raftery//WolfsonOpening Betting Line: TBAkentucky logoPrediction: The Wildcats didn’t look like themselves for a while during the regular season, but boy did they finish on a tear. Guards Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray are studs, and freshman big man Skal Labissiere has gone from phenom to bust to bona fide contributor.If anything, this UK team is under-seeded. That might hurt them in round two against Indiana, but it shouldn’t deter them from winning this game.last_img read more

Quebecers criticize western oil but buying more gasoline SUVs bigger homes report

first_img“One hundred per cent of electricity in Quebec is from renewable resources,” he said. “Also, Quebecers are less rich than other Canadians, meaning they consume less energy, have less cars.”But the automobiles Quebecers do drive are increasingly gas-guzzling, according his report.Sales of vehicles such as trucks, SUVs and pick-ups in Quebec increased by 246 per cent between 1990 and 2017 and gasoline sales jumped 33 per cent during the same period. Every year since 2015, sales of those types of vehicles have overtaken car sales.“Among the 3.7 million Quebecers who had a job in 2016 and who worked away from home, 78 per cent said they primarily used a personal vehicle to get there,” the report noted. Montreal – Quebec’s premier is quick to reject “dirty” oil from Western Canada in favour of hydro power, but new data indicate the province’s citizens are buying record amounts of gasoline and increasingly purchasing trucks and bigger homes.Quebecers are widely seen across the country as environmentally conscious, but per capita, they are some of the highest consumers of energy on the planet, according to a report prepared by researchers at Universite de Montreal’s business school.Premier Francois Legault recently provoked the ire of western Canadians when he reminded journalists how there was “no social acceptability” in his province for a “dirty energy” pipeline from Alberta. His comments drew rebukes from pundits and western leaders such as Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, who said Legault “needs to get off his high horse.”Prof. Pierre-Olivier Pineau, co-author of the report on energy use in Quebec, said people have a point when they criticize the province for its public stance on fossil fuels compared to the behaviours of its citizens.“Yes, there is a certain degree of hypocrisy in all humans, and obviously, with regards to certain positions that Quebecers take (on energy), there is some hypocrisy there.” Pineau said in an interview.Quebecers do have some bragging rights, however, when it comes to green living, he explained.Per capita carbon emissions in Quebec are the lowest in the country, Pineau said, and the province has decreased its overall emissions by 11 per cent since 1990.But that success is less attributed to choice and more to circumstance, Pineau explained.center_img And the report indicated that between 1990 and 2016, the average surface area of a home in the province increased by 17 per cent.Moreover, on a per capita basis, Quebecers consume significantly more energy than the global average, as well as citizens in countries such as China and Germany _ and almost as much as in United States.And while Pineau’s report suggests Quebecers should boast less about their environmental credentials, it also slays a common line of attack against the province.Following Legault’s “dirty” oil comments, news organizations and social media platforms were filled with comments about Quebec’s hypocrisy for accepting foreign oil from human rights-abusing countries while rejecting western energy.The report, however, indicates as of June 2018, 94 per cent of oil in Quebec came either from the United States or Canada.Since 2015, Enbridge’s Line 9B pipeline reversal has helped ensure that 53 per of the oil consumed in Quebec comes from western Canada _ compared to roughly 10 per cent in 2014.The rhetoric from Quebec leaders and activists, as well as the policies of the federal government, are alienating western Canadians, said Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party of Canada.Bernier, who quit the Conservative party to start his own last September, said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s inability to get a pipeline built is contributing to the deep discount of Canadian oil sales and frustration among citizens in the West.“Yes, (alienation) is real,” Bernier said in an interview with The Canadian Press. “I was there in Alberta. I feel it. People feel rejected by Trudeau’s policies. They feel misunderstood by traditional politicians.”(THE CANADIAN PRESS)last_img read more

Clean up and construction work taking place in Old Fort area

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Clean up and construction work is scheduled to take place in the Old Fort area.Following the landslide that took place last Fall in the Old Fort, crews from B.C. Hydro & Arctic Arrow Group will be working to remove abandoned Hydro and Telus poles and wire that was damaged during the landslide.The removal of the poles and wire is scheduled to take place from September 25 to the 30, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Also taking place, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will be working on installing culverts and clearing ditches along Old Fort Road to prevent ponding and flooding.Work is taking place now until October 16, and drivers can expect to experience minor delays during the installation of the culverts.Old Fort work notices can be found on the Peace River Regional District’s website.last_img read more

Russia humiliates Saudi Arabia in World Cup opening match

first_imgToday’s World Cup opener comes to a humiliating end for Saudi Arabia who previously boasted to humiliate Russia in their home.Russia thrashed them 5-0 as they win their first international match since October and, more importantly, earns a crucial three points in Group A, where second place behind heavily favored Uruguay is up for grabs.Yuri Gazinskiy scored the first goal of the tournament after only 12 minutes when he headed in from Aleksandr Golovin’s cross.Substitute Denis Cheryshev added a second just before half-time as he collected Roman Zobnin’s pass, cut inside two Saudi Arabia defenders and finished well.Another substitute, Artem Dzyuba, grabbed Russia’s third within two minutes of coming on by heading in from Golovin’s delivery.ScotlandScotland needs a hero: Billy Dodds Manuel R. Medina – September 10, 2019 According to former striker, Billy Dodds his country needs a hero to inspire future generations as the team’s hope to qualify to the EURO 2020 is small.Cheryshev scored a spectacular fourth with the outside of his boot, before Golovin curled in a stunning 25-yard free-kick for Russia’s fifth.Saudi Arabia failed to register a shot on target as the hosts completely dominated.last_img read more

Griezmann congratulates young fan

first_imgAtletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann has congratulated a youngster with disabilities who is a big fan of the French striker and was captured practicicing athletics in an online video.Manu has not let his physical handicap get him down and has practicised other sports as well. When journalist Joaquin Finat put the video online, Griezmann shared it and added words of encouragement.Griezmann posted a message on his Twitter account which read: “Bravo my friend,” in relation to the video of the nine-year-old physically challenged young boy practicing sports.The French forward who opted to stay with Atletico Madrid this summer despite being heavily linked with a move to Barcelona has become a fan’s favorite at the Wanda Metropolitano.Gerard Pique, Neymar, BarcelonaLa Liga Betting: Match-day 4 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Despite it being very early into La Liga season, both Barcelona and Real Madrid have had unprecedented starts to their campaigns. With this in…Griezmann who joined the Los Colcheneros in the summer of 2014 helped the club win the UEFA Europa League at the end of last season after a disappointing penalty shootout loss to rivals Real Madrid in the 2016 UEFA Champions League final.The former Real Sociedad striker was given the Bronze Ball award (third best player of the tournament) at the just concluded FIFA World Cup in Russia where he helped France become world champions for only the second time in their history.Atletico Madrid have already won the UEFA Super Cup this season, defeating rivals and European champions Real Madrid 4-2 to make Diego Simeone the most successful manager in the club’s history.The club will be hoping to take their trophy winning form to the Spanish league as they seek to win their first title since 2014.last_img read more

Blocking Haitians because they are Haitians is Unconstitutional think tank needed to

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppEDITORIAL – Wednesday March 28, 2018 – People everywhere feel passionately about who gets to live and work in their country.  It is a hot topic and the Turks and Caicos Islands is no exception.In a press conference held last week, the Leader of the Opposition, Hon Washington Misick raised some interesting points, concerning points about the huge population of Haitians residing within these islands.While everything he explained demands that the nation give more deliberate attention to how we ought to build the already cosmopolitan society that the TCI is, it is an inescapable fact that it would simply be unfair, unethical and most significantly, unconstitutional for the Turks and Caicos Islands Government to establish a law or system that automatically denied a human being access to opportunities based strictly on their nationality.Section 16 of the 2011 Turks and Caicos Islands Constitution makes it plain that it is wrong to create a law or policy that levels a specific treatment toward any sector; especially if law or policy is designed to block privileges other residents or potential residents, enjoy.Section 16 says:Protection from discrimination 16.—(1) Subject to subsections (4), (5) and (8), no law shall make any provision which is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect. (2) Subject to subsections (6), (8) and (9), no person shall be treated in a discriminatory manner by any person acting by virtue of any law or in the performance of the functions of any public office or any public authority. The section of the Constitution goes on to define what is meant by discriminatory:(3) In this section, “discriminatory” means affording different treatment to different persons attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions such as by race, national or social origin, political or other opinion, colour, religion, language, creed, association with a national minority, property, sex, sexual orientation, birth or other status whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another such description are not made subject or are accorded privileges or advantages which are not accorded to persons of another such description.  The responses and reaction to the comments made by the Minister of Border Control, Hon. Sean Astwood – who since last year announced that first time work permits applications from anyone would not be accepted; and the Leader of the Opposition, Hon Washington Misick – who believes the country ought to develop a quota system to balance who can apply for a work permit for the first time, need a proper forum for sensible consideration.It is clear that residents have burning ideas about this controversial issue.  It is clear that both sides of our government agree that some controls need to be enforced.  What is less clear is whether the Turks and Caicos is prepared to formalize the variety of ideas in a way that gives equal opportunity to anyone applying for permission to work and live in the Turks and Caicos Islands.Our constitution is important and clear that we cannot pick and chose who we treat this way or that at any level, especially at the national one.  Anyone should be able to apply for a job advertised, no matter their nationality.  For any number of reasons, their application can be denied, but it should never be based on the colour of their skin, whether they are a woman or man, because they are Haitian or American, because they are homosexual or whether they are Anglican or atheist.Students say we need lecturers at the Community College.  So if we find one or two who come qualified and willing from Haiti, should they then be rejected because there are Haitian?  If the RitzCarlton or one of the other five major developments coming on stream need unskilled workers for construction phase and if we can find 100 or 200 Haitians to make up the numbers, should we reject their applications just because they are from Haiti?  If we were to find a qualified Haitian man or woman to support our agricultural development, are we saying that we should reject them purely based on the fact that they are Haitian?No.  It is not only in contravention to what I believe is the spirit of what both the Minister and the LOO are trying to say, but it is flat out unconstitutional to ignore a decent and ready candidate just because they come from Haiti.Do that, and no telling who is next;  Jamaicans, Dominicans, Africans, Canadians, Barbadians, Cubans, Europeans, Guyanese, Bahamians or Americans?  It cannot and should not happen because to deny a human being because of where they are born is unconstitutional, so we must come up with an equitable way of determining the expatriate labour force.Many countries have figured it out.  Perhaps it is time to copy off of their paper. Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:last_img read more