Abu Dhabi: Some of the world’s best men’s tennis players including 12-time Grand Slam Champion Novak Djokovic, world No 5 Dominic Thiem and US Open semi-finalist Pablo Carreño Busta are set to battle it out at the 10th edition of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship (MWTC) which kicks off this Thursday. The three-day tournament which is being held at Zayed Sports City will have a women’s section for the first time with none other than Serena Williams leading the field. She will be making her return to competitive action after nearly a year away from the game.
Besides the on-court action, tennis fans can also expect to be entertained off-court at the Tennis Village, with an action-packed schedule, world-class dining facilities and plenty of fun for the whole family to experience.
Winners of the Mubadala Community Cup, (which happened from November 3 to 24) will take part in coaching clinics, where the stars will show off their skills and answer questions. The clinics are open to fans and visitors as well.
Explaining why the championship is being held during the festive period, tournament director Vickie Gunnarsson said: “This hasn’t posed an issue – in fact it is a positive. The players are in full training mode as they are preparing themselves for a new season. From a spectator’s perspective, with a lot of people visiting the UAE, it is a fantastic family day out. We are expecting 5,000 spectators to join us each day during the tournament,” she said.
According to MTWC records, the past nine editions have witnessed a footfall of more than 125,000 people.
“We want to improve on this by bringing tennis to an even broader audience and encouraging more people that are new to the game, to join us,” she said.
Returning for the fourth year as the brand ambassador of MWTC is Aussie tennis player Pat Cash. Excerpts from an interview with the legend.
How is MWTC different from other world championships?
MTWC gives the opportunity to educate the community about tennis. The clinics, hosted by the pro’s, offer plenty of opportunity for people to participate and interact in a way that is not common in other events.
What do players have to keep in mind while playing tennis?
The biggest piece of advice I would pass down to any of the guys on tour right now is to enjoy it. Due to the pressure on the circuit, players will be consistently setting targets and working day and night to achieve them. When you’re actually on court, you don’t take a moment to enjoy the experience. Now in hindsight, if I could talk to my 25 year old self, I would only tell him to enjoy the experience.
How is tennis today different from when you ruled the courts?
Technology has been a big factor in the recent development of tennis. The way the frames of the rackets are designed and the strings are produced have brought about the development of an era of baseliners.
What is your wish for future tennis?
I would love to see the Davis Cup return to its former glory. Players in the modern era make so much of performing their best tennis during the Grand Slams and sometimes forget what an honour it is to represent your country. I’d love to see every major player turn out for their country and give it everything they’ve got.
Any tips for improving the game?
Pay attention during lessons and practise your technique as much as possible. Don’t worry about hitting the ball as hard as Wawrinka or serving as big as Raonic. A good solid, consistent technique will take you much further in the game. Whatever your aspirations, make sure you have a great time on court because that is what it’s all about.
How’s life as a coach?
I am thoroughly enjoying my time coaching Coco Vandeweghe (former Junior US Open champion) currently. She has just cracked the top ten and I think there will be a lot more to come from her. Off the court, I treasure my time with my grandkids and enjoy rock music.