Nadal & Federer in New Delhi: epics are made of these

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Indian Aces' Rafael Nadal celebrates after beating UAE Royas Roger Federer by 6-5 during the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) men's singles match at IG Stadium in New Delhi on Saturday, 12 December. Photo: Vijay Verma/PTI

Nadal & Federer in New Delhi: epics are made of these

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UAE Royals Roger Federer during the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) men's singles match against Indian Aces' Rafael Nadal at IG Stadium in New Delhi on Saturday, 12 December. Photo: Vijay Verma/PTI

Nadal & Federer in New Delhi: epics are made of these

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Sania Mirza of Micromax Indian Aces in action during the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) match at the IG Stadium in New Delhi on Friday, 11 December. Photo: Atul Yadav/PTI

Nadal & Federer in New Delhi: epics are made of these

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India's Sania Mirza being greeted by Rafael Nadal for beating Phillippine Mavericks players Tomljanovic and Huey in the Mixed doubles match of IPTL at IG stadium in New Delhi on Thursday, 10 December. Photo: Vijay Verma/PTI

Nadal & Federer in New Delhi: epics are made of these

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Mark Philippoussis of Philippines Mavericks in action during the IPTL match at the IG Stadium in New Delhi on Friday, 11 December. Photo: Atul Yadav/PTI

Nadal & Federer in New Delhi: epics are made of these

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Indian Aces' Rafael Nadal cheers with other teammates to Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna during mixed dobles match against UAE Royals during the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) at IG Stadium in New Delhi on Saturday, 12 December. Photo: Vijay Verma/PTI

Nadal & Federer in New Delhi: epics are made of these

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L Paes with partner Herbert of Legendari Japan Warriors celebrates during the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) match at the IG Stadium in New Delhi on Friday, 11 December. Photo: Atul Yadav/PTI

Nadal & Federer in New Delhi: epics are made of these

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Indian Aces' Rafael Nadal talks with Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna during mixed doubles match against UAE Royals during the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) at IG Stadium in New Delhi on Saturday, 12 December. Photo: Vijay Verma/PTI

Nadal & Federer in New Delhi: epics are made of these

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UAE Royals Roger Federer poses for a selfie with the team after the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) men's singles match against Indian Aces at IG Stadium in New Delhi on Saturday, 12 December. Photo: Vijay Verma/PTI

Nadal & Federer in New Delhi: epics are made of these

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Carlos Moya of OUE Singapore Slammers in action during the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) match at the IG Stadium in New Delhi on Friday, 11 December. Photo: Vijay Verma/PTI

Nadal & Federer in New Delhi: epics are made of these

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Indian Aces player Rafael Nadal and Rohan Bopanna during the IPTL men's doubles match against Phillippine Mavericks players Roger-Vasselin and Treat Huey in at IG stadium in New Delhi on Thursday, 10 December. Photo: Vijay Verma/PTI

Nadal & Federer in New Delhi: epics are made of these

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UAE Royals Roger Federer walks past Indian Aces players during the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) men's singles match at IG Stadium in New Delhi on Saturday, 12 December. Indian Aces won the match by 6-5. Photo: Vijay Verma/PTI

Nadal & Federer in New Delhi: epics are made of these

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Indian Aces' Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna celebrate with Rafael Nadal after winning mixed doubles match against UAE Royals by 6-4 during the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) at IG Stadium in New Delhi on Saturday, 12 December. Photo: Vijay Verma/PTI

Nadal & Federer in New Delhi: epics are made of these

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Indian Aces' Rafael Nadal and UAE Royals Roger Federer during the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) at IG Stadium in New Delhi on Saturday, 12 December. Photo: PTI

IPTL

Nadal & Federer in New Delhi: epics are made of these

Sahil Bhalla @IMSahilBhalla

DJ waley babu mera gaana chala de is not the typical soundtrack for a tennis match but then there was nothing typical about this particular match being played at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in New Delhi.

It was a one-set tennis match between two former world number ones, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

The Indian Premier Tennis League has now cannabalised the off-season usually set aside on the tennis calendar for rest and recuperation.

Mahesh Bhupati, founder of the IPTL, knew that with two of the three days of the tournament being weekdays, Saturday had to be big.

He made it bigger than Delhi had ever seen, at least in tennis - and the city turned up in droves.

13,000 people attended the Saturday session that featured the high-profile Federer and Nadal clash. That was much higher than the slim pickings the first two days of the Delhi leg of the tournament. Chants of "Roger... Roger" drowned out all other sounds in the stadium and Bollywood songs the other.

Nadal prevailed 6-5 (7-4) over Federer, but it was one for the ages - both players give glimpses of their best. Post his win, Nadal said, "I'm happy to play here against Roger and the crowd gave us a lot of love. I played here one day before, so in a sense I had an advantage, but playing Roger is always exciting."

Federer added, "I had a slow start and Rafa already played a match here. The season's just beginning, so I'm bound to be a bit rusty. Considering those circumstances, I played pretty well."

There was lots more going on over the three days.

Mirza and Bopanna conquered their opponents with relative ease. Nadal teamed up with doubles-specialist Rohan Bopanna to defeat Marin Cilic and Roger Federer. Agnieszka Radwanska defeated Kristina Mladenovic in a one-sided set. Micromax Indian Aces defeated Obi UAE Royals 30-19 in the final match.

Over the course of the three days, matches were won and lost. As long as the players are having fun, nothing else matters though.

In edition two, IPTL may no longer have seemed a novel concept - but when you've got Nadal and Federer on the same Delhi turf, novelty is always just one shot away.

Photo editing: Kaushik Ramaswamy

Sahil Bhalla

Sahil Bhalla @IMSahilBhalla