Ramesh Cidambi, Chief Operating Officer of Dubai Duty Free, during an interview at the Dubai Tennis Open. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: The Chief Operating Officer of Dubai Duty Free believes that the two-week Dubai Tennis Championships can be further consolidated by identifying the new breed of tennis stars and with some additional side activities during the two tournaments.

“There are a couple of areas that this event can evolve further, and one of these is definitely identifying and bringing in young players who can be the stars of the future,” Ramesh Cidambi, COO, Dubai Duty Free, owners and organisers of the two-week championships told Gulf News.

With a total offering of just over $5.2 million (Dh19 million) over two weeks of competitions, the Dubai Tennis Championships was one of the tournaments that opted for equal prize money. And while the city has grown in tandem with the tennis and other sporting activities, the game too has evolved. “But there is the opportunity for growth in at least two areas. One of these is to focus on attracting players, especially the younger ones, while being in a position to communicate the message that Dubai is a fantastic city where the weather is great and players can make this their destination even with their families for a great experience here,” Cidambi noted.

“At the same time, we should be able to attract the young and upcoming players and sort of get ready for the next generation. Everyone is aware that the current big four of tennis [Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray] have been at the top of the game for a long time. So there are opportunities and openings for the next generation to enter. As one of the top tournaments with so many awards it is our responsibility to be able to attract these young stars of the future,” he added.

Organisers also line up various activities during the course of the two weeks of tennis, including the JP Morgan Kids’ Day, Tennis Emirates Day, special needs clinics, autograph sessions with players and Family Fun Day for sponsors and their families.

“Another thing that we can definitely do is improve the facilities around the event. I am convinced there may be opportunities to do more things on the side courts and see ways on how we can improve the fan experience during the tennis,” Cidambi related.

“In terms of using digital media we have added a lot of screens and helped bring the tennis action closer to the fans in the village. But we need to do more and we can do more. Perhaps, we can also to promote the tennis several weeks before the event starts using material and content from this year’s event. We need to promote tennis and tell the tennis story to engage more with the fans,” he added.

“Over the years we have experimented with the ticket prices, and then about ten or 12 years back we dropped the ticket prices and this proved to be good for the fans and the event became a suitable for the entire community and for the sport as well. We just want people to experience the tennis, whether someone wants to come and watch for a day, one week or both the weeks. We are here to make the experience easy.”