Roger Federer's injury comeback has been put on hold until the New Year after he withdrew his participation in the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) owing to financial troubles in India hampering the tournament.
The 17-time Grand Slam winner has not played since his semi-final loss to Milos Raonic at Wimbledon this year owing to a knee injury and was expected to make his comeback as part of the Indian Aces franchise in the annual league tournament, which was founded by Indian tennis legend Mahesh Bhupathi.
The IPTL started in 2014 and has seen a number of top tennis stars including Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic play in the last two years. The 2016 edition however has seen the number of top stars drop out with Nick Kyrgios, Tomas Berdych and Kei Nishikori among the only top-20 men's singles players on show in the tournament which takes place in various cities across Asia.
Serena Williams was also expected to play as part of the Singapore Slammers franchise but has withdrawn due to the financial constraints. Bhupathi confirmed their withdrawals but made it clear that it is only a temporary problem and that the top stars of the ATP and WTA tours will be back in the future editions of the tournament which has gained immense popularity across the Asia and Middle East.
"We have had challenges this year, and we were hoping to get past them. With the current economic climate in India and the uncertainty of spending money, I reached out to both Roger and Serena to explain the situation," Bhupathi said in a statement released by ITPL's official site.
"They have both been very supportive of the IPTL the first two seasons and we look forward to bring them in future years," the former Grand Slam winner added.