Six of the world’s leading tennis stars, including world number one Rafael Nadal and Swiss master Roger Federer, have been confirmed for the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi next month.
Robin Soderling, Tomas Berdych, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Marcos Baghdatis, complete an all-star line-up which will return to the recently upgraded Abu Dhabi International Tennis Complex at Zayed Sports City from December 30 to January 1.
“Abu Dhabi is a very special place to me. I’ve enjoyed the best season of my career so far and it all started with a victory in Abu Dhabi, so it holds great memories. The early season momentum gained in Abu Dhabi is good preparation for the Australian Open,” stated defending champion Nadal of the $250,000 winner takes all competition which opens the global tennis season.
The twenty-four year old Spaniard followed up his season opening win in Abu Dhabi writing his name into the record books, by becoming just the seventh player in history and the youngest player in the Open Era, to complete the career Grand-Slam.
“Everything about Abu Dhabi and the tournament from the weather, facilities and the atmosphere in the stadium, make it the ideal place to start my season. Having seen the strength of the field, I look forward to returning to defend my title in a fantastic city that loves tennis and is emerging as one of the world’s great sporting destinations,” he added.
Announcing his return to Abu Dhabi for the third straight year, all-time great with 16 Grand Slam singles titles, Roger Federer, said: “To win the Mubadala World Tennis Championship against such a strong field will be the perfect start to the 2011 season, as this world class tournament has put Abu Dhabi on the global tennis stage.”
This year’s new partnership with title sponsor Mubadala builds on the championship’s commitment to encourage the residents of Abu Dhabi to get involved in sports and lead a healthier lifestyle.
“The city’s genuine commitment to support the growth of tennis in the region is exciting and inspiring, and makes it personally rewarding to play here as part of this celebration of tennis. Abu Dhabi is a place I always want to win in,” said Federer who considers UAE to be his second home.
“Mubadala has a track record of bringing world class sporting events to Abu Dhabi and making them accessible to the community such as Formula One and Fifa Club World Cup. This is important to us because we want to help build the profile of Abu Dhabi on the international stage,” said a representative of the new title sponsor Abdulla Al Shamsi at the launch on Monday.
He said they were excited to be part of this venture which will also engage the community. “We are also committed to ensuring that the local community are able to take part and benefit from these events. Our involvement in tennis is in many ways a continuation of this catalyst. Mubadala is committed to building on success of Zayed Sports City and the international tennis complex,” he added.
“This year we are excited to welcome Mubadala onboard as our title sponsor, an organisation that shares our ambition for the future of the championship. The stage is set for the people of the UAE and around the globe, to enjoy a world-class event live from the capital,” said John Lickrish, Managing Director, FLASH Entertainment at the launch.
“The global tennis season starts right here in Abu Dhabi with the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. Every single player is of Grand Slam pedigree, with each having played in or won at least one Grand Slam final, so it is going to be intense on-court action from start to finish,” he added. “This is our third tournament and in every sense, this year is bigger and better.”
Kate Triggs, Executive Director, Mubadala Group Communications, said they were delighted to welcome the world’s best players to Abu Dhabi for what will be an unforgettable three days of world-class competition. “We hope that the tournament, and the accompanying community initiatives, will inspire the local community to take up the sport,” she said.
In the run up to the event a number of community initiatives are taking place, including the Mubadala Tennis in School programme, which provides free coaching and equipment for children between the ages of seven and twelve, and the Mubadala Community Cup – a community tournament for tennis enthusiasts running across the Emirates.
A Tennis Village, which will be free to the public, will also offer a range of activities including player signings, practice sessions and competitions.
Slah Bramly who read out a statement on behalf of Tennis Emirates general secretary Abdullah Al Nuaimi said this tournament had become one of the most prestigious tennis events in the world. “The UAE tennis community will have the unique opportunity to watch today’s champions which will hopefully encourage our young talent to strive to improve their own game from being a mere recreation and aim to reach high performance level,” he said.
In a span of two short years the Mubadala World Tennis Championship has grown from strength to strength to become the most talked about Special Event on the men’s global tennis calendar, according to Greg Sproule, managing director of IMG Middle East.
“With unwavering support from Flash as the Event Owners - and Mubadala as our new Title Partner - the Championship is now firmly established as the kick-off event to the global tennis calendar. Abu Dhabi is the place where the best players in men’s tennis are now choosing to start their season,” he said.
“The commitment of the star players and the time they spend to encourage the growth of tennis and promote the benefits of healthy living in the UAE around the Mubadala World Tennis Championship is unlike any other tennis event taking place globally.”