The eight franchises have put their best foot forward, assembling strong and competitive squads, packed with exciting talent from all over the world, ahead of the fourth edition of the Tennis Premier League (TPL) at the player Auction held in Mumbai.
Matthew Ebden, who is the 2022 Wimbledon men's doubles champion, was bought on as the marquee player for season four of the Tennis Premier League and was the most expensive pick-up at the Auction.
Despite stiff competition from other franchises for the signature of the grand slam-winning Australian, he was picked up by Delhi Binny's Brigade for Rs 8.45 lakh due to the smarts of their mentor Aditya Khanna.
In addition to Matt Ebden, Delhi Binny's Brigade picked up Sowjanya Bavisetti, an Indian tennis player who won two gold and one silver medal in team and individual events at the 13th South Asian Games, for Rs 3.50 lakh.
They also added former India No.1 in the Juniors, Siddarth Banthia to their roster for the price of Rs 1.50 lakh.
Defending champions Finecab Hyderabad Strikers picked up Conny Perrin of Switzerland who has been a winner of 13 Singles titles and 23 doubles titles on the ITF Women's circuit for the price of Rs 4.10 lakh.
They were quick to snap up Sriram Balaji, who has been a winner of 50 doubles titles on the ITF Pro circuit, for a price of Rs 6.05 lakh.
The final player that the Finecab Hyderabad Strikers picked up at the auction was Niki Poonacha, who is a two-time national tennis champion and was picked up for Rs 2.60 lakh.
Leander Paes's co-owned Mumbai Leon Army were decisive at the auction as they quickly picked up the players they were targeting before the Auction.
The Mumbai Leon Army signed Ramkumar Ramanathan, who is currently India's No.1 in Men's Singles and No. 2 in Men's Doubles for the price of Rs 6.70 lakh.
Leander Paes' Mumbai Leon Army added to their Indian contingent as they signed up Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, who won the Men's Doubles at the Aircel Chennai Open back in 2017 for Rs 2.60 lakh. Their roster was complete after the signing of the Winner of 12 career ITF Women titles, Valeriya Strakhova of Ukraine for the price of Rs 4.45 lakh.
The Indian tennis icon talked about the impact of the Tennis Premier League after the auction.
"I am excited with the squads each team has assembled for the fourth season of the Tennis Premier League, all the squads look strong and are stacked with elite talent. I am sure this is going to be the most exhilarating TPL season yet, which is a true testament to the undying efforts of Kunal and Mrunal who have made sure the league keeps growing with each edition. The Tennis Premier League has already helped unearth gems of Indian Tennis. I feel this time around the Women's players is going to make the difference for their teams."
"I am sure the stadium is going to be packed at the first match of the fourth season of the Tennis Premier League. I wish the best of luck to all of the franchises ahead of the new season," Leander added.
Illya Marchenko, the Ukrainian tennis star that has had a career-high singles ranking of World No.49 was bought for Rs 4.55 lakh by the Chennai Stallions.
The Chennai outfit also made Russian tennis star Anastasia Gasanova the most expensive female player at the Auction as she was bought by Stallions for Rs 6.90 lakh. The Russian who is a Winner of 6 Singles titles and 3 Doubles titles on the ITF Women's circuit will add a lot of quality to the Chennai Stallions. They signed up Anirudh Chandrasekar, who is fast becoming one of the rising stars of Indian tennis as he won his maiden title at the ITF $25K earlier this year for a bargain at Rs 2.10 lakh.
The Bengaluru Spartans signed up only Indian players at the Auction for the fourth edition of the Tennis Premier League. They secured the prodigious Indian women tennis player, Karman Kaur Thandi for Rs 6.55 lakh.
Karman, who was prolific in season three of the Tennis Premier League has represented India at the Fed Cup.
Vishnu Vardhan, who won the silver and bronze Medal at the 2010 Asian Games, was also signed up by the Bengaluru Spartans for Rs 4.55 lakh. Their roster was completed with the signing of Sidharth Rawat, who won the All-India University Championships back in 2019, for the price of Rs 1.55 lakh.
Sania Mirza, who is the brand ambassador of the Bengaluru Spartans, also expressed her thoughts on the fourth season of the Tennis Premier League.
"It's been very nice to see the Tennis Premier League grow over the years. The talent taking part in the Tennis Premier League in the fourth season is going to make this edition the most competitive yet. The innovative format of the Tennis Premier League provides the players with the perfect opportunity to test themselves out in high-pressure situations and in turn, helps them improve their game.
"It has truly paved a path for kids taking up tennis in the country right now, they now have something like the TPL they can aim to play in. I am sure that the fourth season will be even more exhilarating than the previous years. The squads are all very competitive. May the best team take home the coveted trophy."
The Pune Jaguars which is co-owned by Sonali Bendre Behl will be the home team when the fourth season kicks off at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune. The Pune Jaguars bought Arjun Kadhe right out of the blocks and were determined to secure his signing.
The 28-year-old Pune native has signed up for Rs 6.7 lakh, and Arjun who has won 3 ATP Challenger Doubles titles will give it his all for his home team. Vijay Sundar Prashanth was the second male player they bought at the Auction for Rs 2.55 lakh. Vijay who won the Gold Medal at the 2016 South Asian Games will complement his skill set of Arjun to provide balance to the team.
Rutuja Bhosale was bought by the Pune Jaguars for Rs 3.65 lakh. Bhosale, who has achieved the highest junior ranking of world no. 55, played for the Pune Jaguars in the previous season also.
Sonali Bendre Behl expressed her jubilation about the Auction and the fourth season of the Tennis Premier League.
"I'm very excited about the league as season 4 is about to kick off. And I think we've been growing every season from where we started and where we are going this year. The Pune Jaguars are going to be the home team and it's going to be at Balewadi Stadium. So, I'm really looking forward to the stadium being full and we have a very Puneri team I would say because we have some Pune natives in our team."
"So, I'm looking forward to all the supporters really filling the stadium and supporting us and supporting the team," she added.
The Gujarat Panthers were swift to complete their roster for the fourth season of the Tennis Premier League.
They bought Ankita Raina for Rs 5.50 lakh, who is the current India No.1 in Women's Singles. The Gujarat Panthers also bought Divij Sharan for Rs 4.55 lakh who is a winner of 5 ATP World Tour titles in Men's Doubles and Manish Sureshkumar was bought for Rs 2.60 lakh, he won the gold medal at the 2019 Khelo India Youth Games.
The newest team to take part in the Tennis Premier League, The Punjab Tigers left an impression on the other teams with their savvy business at the Auctions. The Taapsee Pannu co-owned team bought Uzbek Denis Istomin, who has won two ATP Tour Singles titles and a gold medal at Asian Games for the price of Rs 4.55 lakh, and also added Malek Jaziri, who has had a career-high rank in World No. 42 and has represented Tunisia at the Olympics was signed by the Punjab Tigers for Rs 4 lakh.
The signing of Diana Marcinkevica completed the Punjab Tigers roster for season four of the Tennis Premier League as the Latvian was picked up for Rs 3.60 lakh.
The TPL tees off at the magnificent Balewadi Stadium in Pune in association with the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) and the All-India Tennis Association (AITA). The tennis league will run from December 7 till December 11, 2022. (ANI)