Nick Kyrgios' ATP season ended on a strange note. The Australian, shortly after becoming relevant in the late rounds of the smaller tournaments, seemingly tanked a match at the 2016 Shanghai Masters. What resulted was swift blowback from the ATP and a suspension that cost him the rest of his 2016 season. However, Kyrgios is part of the approaching International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) season, a league that features a team-oriented short tennis season that allows players to get some matches in during the ATP's and WTA's offseasons.

Singapore Slammers are defending champions

Kyrgios is a part of the Singapore Slammers, the defending champions in the IPTL.

He was part of last season's winning team and felt that "chemistry" was a part of the team's success: "We all got along pretty well from day one. Our energy on the bench was great and when we lost we supported each other and came back each day and gave our best. Every game counts so that was key" (qtd. in IPTL's website article from December 20th, 2015).

No Bencic, but Slammers have Williams

Last season the Singapore Slammers had a healthy Belinda Bencic, the teenaged Swiss player that appears to be the leading talent of the women's next generation of players. She earned the female MVP award in the IPTL in late 2015, an award that she won't be defending this season. However, where the Slammers have lost Bencic, they have gained Serena Williams.

The American and current World No. 2 is listed as a part of the Slammers along with Kyrgios.

The team otherwise lacks some depth and Kyrgios and Williams may have to do a lot of the work. For current ATP players, other team members include Marcos Baghdatis and doubles expert Marcelo Melo. Kiki Bertens may prove a strong addition to this team as a prominent WTA player.

Meanwhile retired players Carlos Moya, a former World No. 1, and Rainer Schuettler round out the team, two players that are question marks (like most retired players).

The schedule for the Singapore Slammers begins on December 2nd. They will face the United Arab Emirates Royals on the 2nd, the Indian Aces on the 3rd, and the Japan Warriors on the fourth as part of a tennis weekend that will come be played in Saitama, Japan.

The venue may give the Japan Warriors the edge, a team headed by Kei Nishikori, Japan's top-ranked player.

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