Abu Dhabi: Tomas Berdych, the world No 6 tennis player, kickstarted the fifth Mubadala Community Cup initiative aimed at inspiring a new generation of tennis players in the UAE.
A star attraction in this year’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship alongside the likes of Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, David Ferrer, and Janko Tipsarevic, the Czech hosted a series of interactive clinics at the Zayed Sports City on Monday and shared his skills, experience and passion directly with children and PE teachers from schools across the country.
He also launched the Mubadala Community Cup, which is a series of local tournaments that give tennis fans the chance to experience the thrill of a competitive event with an exclusive spot in a clinic up for grabs. Registration for this year’s cup is now open, so all enthusiasts aged eight years and over are encouraged to sign up now at www.mubadalawtc.com to avoid disappointment. Entry is free and the champions of each age group will win a once in a lifetime opportunity to join an exclusive clinic hosted by one of the superstars at this year’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship.
Among the initiatives this year is the introduction of six consecutive and free after-school sessions for all children participating in the programme, which provides expert coaching and free Wilson mini-tennis equipment while promoting the importance of regular exercise and a healthy diet. More than 40 schools and 16,000 students are expected to take up the game as a result.
“I can’t wait to get back on court in Abu Dhabi for the tournament from December 27-29 and to also see how these kids have progressed,” Berdych said. “The atmosphere, weather and player line-up are all world-class so I am sure it will be great for both the players and the fans.
“I love to see young players inspired to pick up a racket for the first time. The younger they are introduced to the fame, the better.”
Berdych told the audience that he took up the game at the age of five and was constantly encouraged by family and friends. In the early days, he got by on natural ability but eventually his father took him to a tennis stadium for proper coaching.
“My tip for children who are willing to play tennis in the future is to take small steps and to set up small goals because the journey is still very long,” he said.
Amina Taher, head of community engagement at Mubadala, added: “These community initiatives are at the very heart of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship and having a player of Tomas’s calibre with us today demonstrates our ongoing commitment to grow tennis.”