Fifth season of the Harven Pro Tennis League (PTL) will get underway on December 7 at the RK Khanna Stadium in New Delhi. The league brings together the best men’s, women’s, juniors and veterans that the country has to offer in a team format with singles and doubles matches. The tournament, which will conclude on December 10, has roped in the likes of India Davis Cupper Mukund Sasikumar, ATP Top 100 Doubles player Anirudh Chandrasekar, Fenesta Nationals 2023 Runner-Up Karan Singh as well as top players like Arjun Kadhe, Nitin Kumar Sinha, Siddhant Banthia, Rithvik Bollipalli and Olympian Vishnu Vardhan. Meanwhile the women’s field includes India’s Billie Jean King Cup member Sahaja Yamalapalli, and Sowjanya Bavisetti, and also top professionals like Vaishnavi Adkar, Soha Sadiq, Jennifer Luikham, Kashish Bhatia, Sharmada Balu and Sravya Shivani Chilakalapudi.

The league brings together the best men’s, women’s, juniors and veterans that the country has to offer in a team format with singles and doubles matches

Played in a two-legged format, the season five of Harven PTL sees eight teams divided into two groups, with the top two teams from each group advancing to the semi-finals. Indraprastha Warriors, Ichiban Samurai, defending champions Gurgaon Sapphires, Mumbai Acers have been drawn into Group A. Meanwhile, inaugural season’s winners Sankara Stag Babolat Yoddhas, DMG Delhi Crusaders, Lucknow Aviators and last year’s runners-up Paramount Proec Tigers were slotted into Group B.

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The season will get underway with DMG Delhi Crusaders taking on Lucknow Aviators and Sankara Stag Babolat Yoddhas facing Paramount Proec Tigers on the two adjacent courts at the RK Khanna Tennis Complex at Delhi Lawn Tennis Association (DLTA) in the capital on Thursday. The evening action will see Mumbai Acers play Indraprastha Warriors and Gurgaon Sapphires against newly introduced Ichiban Samurai.

Also, the opening ceremony of the Harven PTL Season 5 took place ahead of the first game on Thursday and it was attended by Dr. Anil Jain – President of the All India Tennis Association (AITA).

Speaking about the upcoming season, PTL co-founder Aditya Khanna said at the press conference, “For me any sport is not about the sport but also about the environment which is created around it. This year we’ve created a fan park, a food festival, we’ve upgraded on social media as well. We’ve tied up with 50 academies in Delhi to bring people to the stadium. We’ve got hoardings outside the stadium and everywhere. We’ve tied up with sports channels like Sportzworkz to show the tournament on their YouTube channel as well. We have a commentator from Sony, Saarthak Lal who will be commenting live to make the viewing experience really good.”

“So, it is not just about the tennis but also about creating a festive environment so people can come with their families to watch tennis and have a good time,” he added.

The players acknowledged that the league offers them an opportunity to train alongside their peers and is a wonderful avenue to have fun at the closing stages of the season.

“I liked the idea of all the players coming together, getting to train with everyone… The whole year we’re mostly away on tournaments and barely see each other. Even if we see each other, it’s on the ITFs and we just do our thing and go. But here it is about coming together, take our minds off some things and learn from other players,” said Sahaja Yamalapalli who was snapped up by the Acers for 44 lakh fantasy points in the auction.

Vishnu Vardhan, who played for India at the 2012 London Olympics, recalled the first season when comparing it with the upcoming season. “The first edition was kind of a home-run kind of league. It has definitely grown. The best thing is that it has been sustainable. Of course the aim is to grow the league but it is also important to remain sustainable. The most important thing is that the owners are very passionate about the sport and they support players. I hope they continue doing that and it is a great platform for players of different age groups to come on and play. I definitely have a lot of fun playing this league,” he said.

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