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Young Emiratis play doubles with Murray, Berdych

Al Janahi cousins enjoy their moment in the limelight in Abu Dhabi

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: It was a dream come true for two young Emirati players, who played a doubles exhibition match with world number three and Olympic and US Open Champion Andy Murray and world number six, Tomas Berdych at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship on Saturday.

The tie-break play-off to 10 points was designed to give cousins Hamad Al Janahi and Abdul Rahman Al Janahi the chance to play doubles with Berdych and Murray respectively. The game ended with Berdych and Hamad defeating Murray and Abdul Rahman 10-5, and the Emirati lads thrilled fans as they played some match-winning points.

Following the game, Abdul Rahman, 18, said he felt “really blessed” to have played alongside Murray, whose matches he enjoys watching on television.

“It was the best game ever, but I didn’t play my best because I was too nervous,” Abdul Rahman told Gulf News.

“It was a bit intimidating playing with Murray and against Berdych.”

The Emirati players had chatted with the two stars before the match.

While Abdul Rahman admitted being “too nervous to come up with words”, Hamad said talking to the players gave him a lot of confidence and was a good learning experience.

“They told me I need to work harder and train harder, so it gave me hope that if I [follow the advice] I might get to where they are,” Hamad said. The 22-year-old added that he enjoyed the game. “Even though it’s only 10 points, you get to learn a lot from playing with pros.”

Hamad who has been playing tennis since the age of three, has already competed in various tournaments, including the Davis Cup, the Dubai Open, a GCC tournament, among others. He has also played with most of the top-50 tennis players.

Those attending the three-day tournament have enjoyed watching top tennis players in action both on and off the court.

The stars have interacted with the crowds through various off-court activities, including question-and-answer sessions, autograph signings and coaching clinics.