ANDY Murray has been drafted to play in the Bangkok team for the International Premier Tennis League, due to be played across Asia later this year.
The reigning Wimbledon champion is among a host of star names, which also includes Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams, to be signed up for the end-of-season event at a draft in Dubai.
Murray’s Bangkok team-mates will include French star Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and the women’s world No 4, Victoria Azarenka. Nadal has been drafted by Mumbai, while Williams will join fellow American Andre Agassi in the Singapore team.
Matches will be played on a round-robin basis in Singapore, Bangkok, Mumbai and Dubai between 28 November and 13 December. Teams will be able to add up to ten players to their rosters.
The IPTL was set up by doubles specialist Mahesh Bhupathi to promote tennis in Asia, and the matches will be over the best of five sets, with each set to be played in a different format – men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, mixed doubles and men’s legends.
Murray’s involvement in the Acapulco International was ended by Grigor Dimitrov at the semi-final stage at the weekend, and the Bulgarian edged out South Africa’s Kevin Anderson 7-6 (7-1), 3-6, 7-6 (7-5) in a three-hour slugfest of a final to claim his second career title.
The 22-year-old, who won the Stockholm Open in October – his first title – claimed the first set in a tiebreak but Anderson broke in the second game of the next and comfortably held serve to level the match at one set apiece. Anderson carried the momentum into the third set with another early break but handed back the initiative with a double fault on break point in the eighth game of the decider.
Dimitrov, buoyed by his win over Murray, held on to take the decider into a tiebreak and completed the victory on his first match point to improve his head-to-head record against the South African to 4-1.
“Belief! That was the only thing that kept me [going] today. I didn’t think I was gonna come back after last night’s match. I felt really bad after the match,” Dimitrov said afterwards, referring to his semi-final win that finished after 2.30am on Saturday. “Body is holding up for now. It will be great to get some rest, maybe tomorrow.”
It was a second heartbreaking loss in as many weeks for Anderson, who lost to Marin Cilic in the Delray Beach Open final last Sunday.
“Right now it’s really disappointing… to come so close. It was possibly a match where I felt I was going to get it,” Anderson said.
“I’m going to have to move on, need to take positives and take belief.
“I know it’s difficult but it’s not an easy sport. You have got two options – either to get down or get even more motivated.”
In the women’s tournament played at the same venue, top-seeded Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova battled past American Christina McHale 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 6-4 to win her fourth career title.
The victory will move Cibulkova a place higher to No 11 from her previous career-high world ranking when the new standings are released today.
On Saturday, Roger Federer, who had beaten Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals, roared back from a set and a break down to overcome Czech Tomas Berdych 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the Dubai Championships final as the Swiss maestro sealed a 78th singles title.