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24 February 2024

Indian tennis icon Sania Mirza kicks off Dubai Open for Tennis Academies (DOTA) Tournament

By E247

- Tournament brings together over 200 talented players from 40 sports academies
- Event is a collaborative venture between Dubai Sports Council, UAE Tennis Federation, and the Sania Mirza Tennis Academy
- DOTA Tournament aims to discover and nurture exceptional talent in the sport

Indian tennis legend, Sania Mirza, launched the Dubai Open for Tennis Academies (DOTA) Tournament, a collaborative venture between the Dubai Sports Council, UAE Tennis Federation, and Sania Mirza Tennis Academy. Bringing together more than 200 tennis talents from 40 sports academies, the tournament aims to discover and nurture exceptional talent in the sport. The competition, spanning seven different categories for men, women, and juniors, is set to run until 4 February, 2024.

Apart from tennis icon Sania Mirza, the grand opening ceremony was attended by Ahmed Salem Al Mahri, Director of Sports Development at the Dubai Sports Council, Robin Uthappa, a prominent figure in international cricket, Saif Mohamed, the Managing Director of the Spirit of the Union Sports Company – the organising partner of the championship - and its CEO, Huzaifa Ibrahim. The ceremony was broadcast on Zee TV, the official media partner of the tournament. During the event, a DOTA tree was planted in support of environmental sustainability.

The tournament kicked off with contests in the adult and seniors’ categories, which will continue until 17 December. The junior category is scheduled to take place from 5 January to 4 February, 2024. Players from over 40 tennis academies will compete in seven categories, including: Under 12, 14, and 18 years old for boys and girls, men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, and women’s doubles.

Mirza expressed her honour in her academy being the primary sponsor of DOTA, emphasising its alignment with Dubai Sports Council’s strategic efforts. The tournament contributes to realising Dubai’s 2033 plan to attract and develop talent in various strategic sectors, including sports, and raising the UAE’s status as one of the world’s most competitive destinations for talent.  Mirza envisions the tournament contributing to the creation of champions capable of achieving international acclaim for the UAE. She lauded Dubai's leadership for its commitment to talent acquisition and development across all fields, with a specific emphasis on the growth of the sports sector.

Mirza also revealed her hands-on approach to overseeing the tournament’s competitions, personally selecting the most promising national talents. She highlighted that these talents will be integrated into the Emirati Talent Development Program she is working on, providing them with guidance, support, and necessary training for competition and international success. The collaboration with the Dubai Sports Council and the UAE Tennis Federation is expected to significantly contribute to nurturing and discovering new tennis talent in the country. The tournament is expected to become a prominent event in the region, bringing together tennis enthusiasts, professionals, and sponsors in a celebration of skill, sportsmanship, and community spirit.

The DOTA tournament is sponsored by several leading government and private companies, including as the Dubai Police Council of People of Determination Empowerment, the Positive Spirit initiative, the Safety Ambassadors Council, Danube Sports World, Beilie, Salham Sticks Real Estate, Duaa Al Hind, Wilson, Al Rawdah Springs for Water, Hubb Tennis, Gargash Hospital, and Z Games. This sponsorship underscores the significance of community participation and commitment to enhancing sports excellence.

Sania Mirza, the trailblazing Indian tennis player who secured international acclaim and achieved advanced rankings globally, boasts an impressive record with four doubles titles in Grand Slam Sports Tournaments and numerous victories in other international championships. With a close connection spanning nearly 17 years, Dubai holds a special place in her journey, serving as the backdrop for her evolution from a promising young player to an accomplished world-class sportsperson. More than a destination, Dubai became a chosen residence for Mirza and her family, including her husband, Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik. Over the years, they have made Dubai their home, drawn by its safety, cultural diversity, and the enriching interactions between people of various nationalities—elements that cultivate creativity and growth.

The global champion chose Dubai as the hub for launching her training project, establishing an academy with branches across Dubai to increase the popularity of tennis across all social segments. Mirza expressed her confidence in the project's success, given Dubai's wide-ranging infrastructure. She said the flexibility and ease of operations offered by the city, combined with its facilities built to the highest international standards,  distinctive location, natural and tourist landmarks, and array of sports amenities make it an ideal destination for sports events.