Yuki Bhambri, Ramkumar Ramanathan get richer at Tennis Premier League auction

Ramkumar Ramanathan will play for the Leander Paes-owned Mumbai Leon Army. Ankita Raina was the top buy among women players.

By Rahul Venkat

The third edition of the Tennis Premier League will see a number of top Indian tennis players in action later this year.

Yuki Bhambri, who recently returned from injury, will lead the charge for the Delhi Binny’s Brigade after he was bought for Rs. 4.2 lakhs at the auctions in Mumbai on Wednesday.

The Delhi Binny’s Brigade also brought in Manish Suresh Kumar and Thailand’s Peangtarn Plipuech.

However, Ramkumar Ramanathan was the most expensive player in the auction as the Mumbai Leon Army acquired him for Rs. 4.5 lakhs.

The Mumbai Leon Army is co-owned by Olympic bronze medallist Leander Paes.

The Rajasthan Tigers pulled off a smart piece of business, roping in India No. 2 Prajnesh Gunneswaran for Rs. 3.7 lakhs.

Doubles specialist Divij Sharan was picked by Gujarat Panthers for Rs. 4.1 lakhs. His wife Samantha Murray Sharan will also be a part of Tennis Premier League 3.0.

Among the women, India No. 1 Ankita Raina was the biggest buy, with the Hyderabad Strikers shelling out Rs. 4.1 lakhs.

Ankita Raina made her Grand Slam debut at the Australian Open last month and will also lead India’s charge in their maiden appearance at the Billie Jean King Cup World Group playoffs.

Fellow Billie Jean King Cup squad member Rutuja Bhosale meanwhile will play for Pune Jaguars after being picked for Rs. 3 lakhs.

The Tennis Premier League is an eight-team tournament, with 11 players in each team – including a wheelchair player – taking part in a round-robin format.

The first season was held in 2018 and was followed by another in 2019. The third edition was due to be held in December last year but has now been postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The dates of Tennis Premier League 3.0 are yet to be announced. Pune Jaguars are the defending champions.