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Chua Siang Yee
Saturday, Nov 1, 2014

Sports

Singapore IPTL team gets Eagle as coach

The Straits Times | Chua Siang Yee | Saturday, Nov 1, 2014

Singapore Slammers CEO and Vikas Gehlot (left) promises tennis fans a good show when the inaugural competition is held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium from Dec 2 to 4.

Joshua Eagle, coach of Australia's Davis Cup team, has been appointed coach of the Singapore Slammers team for the inaugural International Premier Tennis League (IPTL).

Eagle earned Tennis Australia's elite coaching excellence award in 2012, after guiding Marinko Matosevic into the top 50 of the ATP world rankings.

The Australian, winner of five ATP doubles titles, will lead a team comprising current stars Serena Williams and Tomas Berdych, and former world No. 1 players Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi.

South African John Laffnie de Jager will coach the UAE Royals, while two-time grand slam doubles winner Fabrice Santoro will be player-coach for the Micromax Indian Aces.

Filipino Treat Huey, world No. 19 in the ATP doubles team rankings, will also be player-coach for the Manila Mavericks.

The IPTL is a mixed-team tournament played in four countries - the Philippines, Singapore, India, and the United Arab Emirates.

The Singapore leg takes place at the Singapore Indoor Stadium from Dec 2-4.

The shorter match format and new rules are aimed at attracting fans to the sport. For instance, each match is played over five sets (no ad-scoring) - one each for men's singles, women's singles, men's doubles, mixed doubles and former champions singles.

Each game won counts as one point, and the team with the most points over the five sets wins the match-up. Coaches can also call one-minute time-outs to evaluate strategy.

France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Team Manila) and Gael Monfils, as well as Serbia's Ana Ivanovic (Indian Aces) are other prominent players set to star in the Singapore leg.

Williams, who won the BNP Paribas WTA Finals in Singapore on Sunday, said: "I'm looking forward to coming back to Singapore and playing for the Singapore Slammers. I hope you'll be able to come out and enjoy a new format of tennis."

Tickets for the Singapore leg are on sale at Sports Hub Tix, and start from $49 (exclusive of booking fee) for a one-day ticket.

siangyee@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Oct 30, 2014.
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