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UAE kids compete for chance to play with top tennis stars

Mubadala Community Cup gives local players the chance to learn from their heroes

Image Credit: Francis Nel/Gulf News
Hassan Nabil Al Yousuf in action during the MubadalaCommunity Cup held at the Meydan tennis academy.
Gulf News

Dubai: UAE teenager Hassan Nabil Al Yousuf has set an ambitious target for himself — he wants to meet and play alongside former world number one Rafael Nadal.

The 13-year-old Grade Nine student from Dubai National School may not have achieved his goal this weekend, but he will certainly have a second shot at it next year.

Al Yousuf was one of the many tennis enthusiasts who converged on the Meydan Tennis Academy here to participate in the Mubadala Community Cup on Friday and Saturday, to decide who would earn the right to participate in an exclusive clinic conducted by some of the world’s top stars during the course of the Mubadala World Tennis Championships from December 27 to 29.

At the end of the first day, Patrick Wong and Ghaith Al Ahmad qualified from the Under-12 section, while Anurag Reddy and Haktav Geroev earned the two places on offer in the under-10 category.

Tennis coach Frank Scheunert partnered Mariette Sayer to win the two places in the adults category, while Norhan Marouf and Rai Sengupta were the two booking their places in the girls’ under-14s section.

Now in its fourth year, the Mubadala Community Cup offers local players the chance to compete for places in an exclusive clinic conducted by top players including Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray when they play in the annual Mubadala World Tennis Championship.

Each age division in the Community Cup has two winners, while another two lucky players per age division are drawn through a raffle.

“I am looking at the experience I will get by playing with a top tennis professional,” said Sengupta, 13. “For me tennis is everything. One day I want to be a pro and travel on the Tour.”

The next round of qualifiers in Dubai will be held for under-12s at the Dubai Men’s College on November 23 and for under-16s at the Royal Meridien Hotel on November 24. In Abu Dhabi, the under-16s competition will be held at the Gems American Academy on November 23, while the final round for under-14s and adults will be at the Abu Dhabi Country Club and The Club on November 24.