Tennis legend and co-owner of Mumbai Leon Army Leander Paes and coach Sukhwant Basra chose a unique approach and backed youngsters Nikki Poonacha and Aryan Goveas by picking them up at a price of Rs 2.25 and 1.25 lakh respectively at the auction of the 2nd Tennis Premier League on Sunday. Interestingly Niki triumphed against Aryan at the Fenesta Nationals last week.
While the young players received an encouraging response, there was a tough battle between the teams for the top players of the country.
In the men’s category Saketh Myneni (Delhi Binny’s Brigade), Somdev Devvarman (Gujarat Panthers), Vishnu Vardhan (Bengaluru Hawks), Jeevan Neduncherhiyan (Punjab Bulls) and Purav Raja (Pune Warriors) all fetched an identical prize of Rs 2.25 lakh, while Ankita Raina (Delhi Binny’s Brigade ), Pranjala Yedlapalli (Punjab Bulls), Mahak Jain (Gujarat Panthers) and Rutuja Bhosale (Pune Warriors)were sold for Rs 1.5 lakh each.
“It is fantastic to see the response from the owners, who have shown tremendous involvement and approached the auction with passion. I am happy to see the players getting more than the base price and I am looking forward to hosting international players in the next couple of years,” Paes said.
Apart from the top men and women players, the auctions also saw an encouraging response from the girls U-18 and boy’s U-14 categories. A total of 8 teams with 8 players will fight it out to be crowned champions for the 2nd edition to be held from 12th to 15th December.