Yuki Bhambri will lead Delhi Binny’s Brigade in the third edition of the Tennis Premier League (TPL) to be played in Mumbai this year. At the player auction on Wednesday in Mumbai, Bhambri was picked for Rs 4.20 lakh. Manish Suresh Kumar and Thailand’s Peangtarn Plipuech, ranked 294 in the world, will also represent the Delhi team.
The organisers, however, did not announce the dates of the tournament.
The base price for Grade A players was set at Rs.2.5 lakh. Each team was entitled to pick up three players in the auction, including two men and one woman. Through a local tournament in June, all eight teams can add one male and one female player to the team.
The enhanced TPL 3.0 will have participation from five international women players, who are Samantha Murray Sharan from Great Britain, ranked 206, Diana Marcinkevica of Latvia, ranked 262, Sabina Sharipova of Uzbekistan, ranked 317, Valeriya Strakhova of Ukraine, ranked 379 and Sofia Shapatava of Georgia, ranked 388, besides Peangtarn.
The highest bid of the day was in favour of Ramkumar Ramanathan, who was picked for Rs 4.5 lakhs by the Mumbai Leon Army, co-owned by Leander Paes. While each team picked two men’s and one women’s player at the auction, another male and women’s player for each team will emerge from the Talent Days, to be played from June onwards.
Besides the owners of the respective 8 teams, co-owners Leander Paes, Rakul Preet Singh, Sonali Bendre Behl, and Divya Khosla Kumar were present to select the best players for their respective teams. The auction also saw the presence of prolific director Vishal Bhardwaj who is an avid supporter of the league and also present was actor Suniel Shetty, whose company Body First is the hydration partner for the Chennai Stallions.
Founders Kunal Thakkur and Mrunal Jain promise an enthralling championship this year and aim to create an environment that is the perfect amalgamation of sports and entertainment.
Kunal Thakkur said, “We are excited that this year we will also be having international players playing in the League. We are so happy that the entire tennis fraternity comes forward every year to make this league a success. The intention is to make tennis win.”
“We are thankful to all our owners and sponsors who have shown such faith in our league. All I can say is that this is just the beginning. We intend to make the league one of its kind in India,” said Mrunal Jain.
Leander Paes commented, “The Tennis Premier League has seen tremendous growth since its inception and I’m very excited for its third season now. We have 8 strong teams in the league and we have seen encouraging response in the past two years, which only promises that this season will be much larger at scale.”
Producer Actor Divya Khosla Kumar said, “We had such an exciting auction and it was a great experience. All teams have managed to get great players and this year the matches are going to be very enthralling and nail-biting.”