CTL will help promote tennis in India: Jankovic

Jelena Jankovic
New Delhi, Nov 10: For a country like India that is deprived of top class tennis action due to lack of top-tier tournaments, organisation of the Champions Tennis League (CTL) will be great for the sport, says former world number one Jelena Jankovic.

The 29-year-old Serbian singles star, ranked 14, will play for 'Delhi Dreams' in the six-team league beginning November 17 here at DLTA Complex.

India hosts only one ATP 250 tournament - Chennai Open - at the beginning of the season and it was way back in 2008 when the country hosted a top WTA event.

"I think the league will help promote tennis in India. There were some tournaments in India several years ago, I was in Bangalore in 2008. It is nice to have a league and get top players playing. I think the standard is great. We have a lot of big names, great champions from the past and now (present)," Jelena told PTI from Thailand, where she is holidaying.

'I think the standard is great. We have a lot of big names'

"I think, it's fun and exciting to play in that part of the world. It's a different format. I have never played something like that. I have played Fed Cup, which is different. I am really looking forward to playing in that kind of competition in front of the Indian fans," she said.

The Delhi team, also featuring South African Kevin Anderson, Juan Carlos Ferrero and India's Sanam Singh, is co-owned by Bollywood actor Ajay Devgan and businessman Sanjeev Kassal. Jelena, who became world number one in 2008 after reaching the US Open final, said there should be no doubt about the approach of the players in the league.

ATP President Chris Kermode had called Mahesh Bhupathi's IPTL a glorified exhibitions. "I don't think that's the case. I think the players will give their best and it will be a great competition," she asserted.

Talking about Sania Mirza, whom the Serbian beat in all five meetings on the WTA tour, Jelena said the Indian made a good decision last year by restricting herself to doubles only. Jelena said Sania could have fared better in singles had she not suffered those injuries when she was in her prime.

"She is a great player and Sania has promoted tennis in India very well. In the past I have played against her in the singles and she was good. I think she could have done better (without injuries) but that's the way it is. And I think it was a great decision because she is very successful in doubles now. It was up to her," she said.


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