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Berdych hoping to kickstart season with Mubadala

Czech hungry to add an elusive Grand Slam title to his resume

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Tomáš Berdych is hoping that success at the ninth Mubadala World Tennis Championship will mark the start of a standout season, as he heads back to Abu Dhabi for his third appearance in the capital ready to tackle reigning champion Rafael Nadal on a star-studded day one of the tournament.

Berdych has had a successful 2016 and is one of just five current players to have reached the semi-finals or better at all four Grand Slams, having most recently advanced to the Wimbledon semi-finals earlier this year. This feat puts him in the company of Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Joining Berdych in Abu Dhabi will be his current coach and former Wimbledon champion, Goran Ivaniševic, who became part of the Czech’s team earlier this year.

With Ivaniševicć known for having guided Marin Cilic to a US Open win in 2014, all signs point to Berdych’s hunger for a Grand Slam title in 2017 and he will be hoping a good run at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship will give him that extra edge.

The former World No. 4 is famed for causing big upsets when it comes to high profile encounters and with a day one matchup against Nadal and a potential day two match against the blisteringly in-form Milos Raonic, he needs to call on that confidence once again if he is to reach the Mubadala World Tennis Championship Final on New Year’s Eve.

Should he find the power he needs to overcome one of the strongest line-ups ever seen at the season-opener in Abu Dhabi, he will be hoping it is a sign of good things to come in 2017. Berdych commented: “I’m ready to get the tournament underway and, looking at the line-up this year, I feel it could be a really interesting run of matches for me. What’s great about this tournament is that because of the guys you play, the matches feel like the latter stages of a Grand Slam from day one so we bring our best game all three days. I’ve felt good this year, so I hope Abu Dhabi will give me the extra boost to the 2017 season that I need.”

On facing Nadal on day one, he added: “This will be Rafa’s eighth time in Abu Dhabi, so it is a tournament he obviously enjoys coming to. For me, it’s the perfect opener to any season and I could not have asked for a better first opponent to test my game against than the current champion.”

Both Berdych and Nadal have the opportunity to play all three days of the tournament, should either make it all the way to the final. The winner of their day one encounter will face World No. 3 Milos Raonic on Day Three. Belgian David Goffin and Frenchmen Jo-Wilfried Tsonga play in the other round one tie, with the victor moving on to face World No. 1 Andy Murray. The winners of day two will then go head-to-head on New Year’s Eve for the 2016 Mubadala World Tennis Championship title. With a total of seven matches over the course of three days, a day ticket gives you the opportunity to see two to three matches every day.

Tickets to the 2016 Mubadala World Tennis Championship start from Dh50 for Category 2 seating. Exclusive premier hospitality packages are also available including food and limited beverages, star player meet and greets and courtside seating.