The 2016 International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) season will start on December 2nd and it will run in three venues between then and December 11th. The league is different from either the ATP or the WTA in the sense that it invokes team-style tennis. It’s more like the Davis Cup than regular tour events, however a difference is that the teams are not based on international lines. Furthermore, the IPTL combines ATP players, WTA players, and legends’ players into the four-team event.
One team that features two strong female leads is the UAE Royals. Both Ana Ivanovic and Martina Hingis are a part of this team, two players that have each been ranked No. 1 by the WTA.
Ivanovic, who recently turned 29 years old, did not enjoy a strong 2016 season as she finished the year ranked just 63rd in the world. The Serbian, who won the 2008 French Open, has not contested a match since losing in the opening round at Flushing Meadows. However, you have to go all the way back to Mallorca in June to find a match-win on tour for Ivanovic as she made the quarterfinals of that WTA event. Despite her abilities, she enters the 2016 IPTL season as a bit of question mark and it’s not clear what kind of contribution she will make.
Martina Hingis enters the IPTL season as a key doubles player. Her and partner Sania Mirza made the Singapore World Tour Finals, an event that was played in late October. Although the two players’ 2016 season was not their best, Hingis did play a lot of doubles matches in 2016. She won a title in Rome and a silver medal at the Rio Olympics. Considered to be one of the best women’s players ever, Hingis promises to be a factor in the mixed doubles component of the IPTL, sets where she will probably partner with Canadian Daniel Nestor.
The exact pairings of players still aren’t known however the UAE Royals will face the Singapore Slammers on December 2nd. The two female players on the Slammers are Serena Williams and Kiki Bertens. Williams, despite finishing the 2016 season ranked 2nd, enters the event following injury. Bertens enjoyed a successful 2016, best highlighted by her run to the French Open semifinals back in the spring. If Williams is healthy, then I think the Slammers have the edge when it comes to the women’s contributions.