Tennis: Novak Djokovic withdraws from IPTL, won't join Singapore Slammers team

Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning the men's singles final match at the ATP World Tour Finals, Nov 22.
Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning the men's singles final match at the ATP World Tour Finals, Nov 22.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from this year's International Premier Tennis League (IPTL), citing a need to recover from a long season as reason.

The Serb, who is part of the OUE Singapore Slammers, will no longer travel to Singapore as a result.

He said: "I had a great experience in the inaugural edition of the IPTL and was eagerly looking forward to playing in the second season, especially in front of the home crowd in Singapore.

"It's been a long year for me and my body needs some extra time to recover. I wish the team the very best and will join them next year."

Djokovic played for the UAE Royals last year in the inaugural season and is part of the Singapore side for the next three seasons.

He has had a wildly successful 2015, winning three Grand Slams and six Masters 1000 titles.

The OUE Singapore Slammers will still have plenty of star power though. Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka were announced as the latest additions to the team.

The Straits Times understands that Wawrinka, a two-time Grand Slam champion, will be in Singapore to play from Dec 18-20. The Swiss is making his debut in the IPTL. Fellow Swiss Roger Federer, who plays for the UAE Royals, will also be here.

Both Murray and Wawrinka join fellow team-mates Nick Kyrgios, Belinda Bencic, Karolina Pliskova, Dustin Brown, Carlos Moya and Marcelo Melo.

Said Indian doubles player Mahesh Bhupathi, the mastermind of the IPTL: "We are glad to announce the return of Andy Murray and the debut of Stan Wawrinka in the IPTL. Both Murray and Wawrinka will add immense strength to the Slammers, raising the quality of tennis on display. Fans across the world can look forward to some exciting match-ups."

The IPTL is featuring five teams for its second edition, and starts today in Japan and before the grand finale in Singapore on Dec 20.