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Star players revel in relaxed atmosphere

Djokovic, Murray and Almagro take time out to meet their fans in Abu Dhabi

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: As well as competing against one another on court, tennis stars including world number one Novak Djokovic and US Open Champion Andy Murray have been interacting with the crowds during various off-court activities at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship here.

The selection of the world’s best players have been conducting coaching clinics, question and answer sessions and signing autographs at the Zayed Sports City Tennis Stadium during the three-day tournament.

The activities started at 12pm on Thursday with three clinics offered by Murray, Djokovic and world number 11 Nicolas Almagro, who was a late replacement at the championship following the late withdrawal of Rafael Nadal. The clinics provided an opportunity for children to play tennis with the champions, ask them questions and get involved in group photographs.

Spaniard Almagro then held a question and answer question session with children, when he was asked about what he likes to eat before a match, what he does in his spare time, how long he has been playing tennis and the best player he has played against so far, to which he replied “Roger Federer”.

Even though Almagro had only arrived in Abu Dhabi a few hours before the sessions, he was the picture of relaxation and answered questions in a chatty and friendly manner.

Both Almagro and Djokovic signed autographs on Thursday. A booth was set up and fans were lining up to meet the champions long before they arrived for the signing sessions.

The crowd was a mix of all age groups and included long-time tennis fans as well as children who were getting their first taste of the sport.

“I’m really excited to meet all of the players,” Anaya Singh, 12, told Gulf News. “I had a lot of fun at the clinics and they [offered] good experience.”