Sport | Tennis

Djokovic hits the ground running in Abu Dhabi

Six of the world’s top 10 will be in action from tomorrow

  • By M. Satya Narayan Abu Dhabi Deputy Editor
  • Published: 17:38 December 25, 2012
  • Gulf News

With three of the world’s top tennis stars already here in the capital, and the remaining three expected on Wednesday, the stage is set for the fifth edition of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, which kicks off tomorrow at the Abu Dhabi International Tennis Complex at Zayed Sports City.

World No 1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic is already here and in training along with Serbian compatriot Janko Tipsarevic (world No 9) and world No 6 Tomas Berdych.

“Janko arrived here last week while Djokovic is also here and has been practising,” Greg Sproule, the Managing Director of IMG Middle East, told Gulf News. “Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and David Ferrer are expected on Wednesday.”

The six stars will all be involved in the three-day winner-takes-all $250,000 (Dh918,250) event, which starts with two matches tomorrow including Olympic Games and US Open champion Murray’s match against Tipsarevic followed by Ferrer versus Berdych.

“Tickets have been sold out for the second day, while a few day one and day three tickets are still available,” Sproule said.

On day two, the Murray-Tipsarevic winner will take on Rafael Nadal while the Ferrer-Berdych winner will meet Djokovic.

While the tennis fraternity will be eagerly awaiting to see how Nadal fares in his first match since being sidelined for more than six months with a knee injury, Murray, who enjoys a large band of supporters here in the UAE, is expected to draw a big draw since breaking his maiden tag as far as Grand Slams are concerned. An Olympic gold medal followed by the US Open title has finally helped the world No 3 join the likes of Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer — the latter being absent for the first time since this event was born five years ago.

Murray, who beat Federer in the semis and then Nadal in the finals in the inaugural year in 2009, is making his appearance for the first time since then.

In addition to the tennis, the Mubadala World Tennis Championship is packed with off-court action for all the family, according to the organisers. From 12pm tomorrow players will be holding coaching clinics, before signing autographs in the afternoon as well as a special Kids’ Question Time session in the Tennis Village. The village opens at 10.30am, with entry, meeting the stars and soaking up the tennis atmosphere all free.

For a limited time only a special festive season promotion has been introduced this year offering a 20 per cent discount on category two tickets for the championship. Applicants should enter the code ‘santa’ when buying tickets at www.thinkflash.ae.

Gulf News