Ons Jabeur reacts during the game against Simona Halep at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships
Essam Jellali, coach of Tunisia's Ons Jabeur (pictured), the brightest ambassador of the game from Arab region now, participated in the zoom webinar. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: Tennis coaches from the Arab and Middle East regions have agreed on the launch of a ‘Tennis Carnival Series,’ possibly starting with the UAE, in near future.

The unique project is the brainchild of former UAE Tennis Federation (UAE TF) board member and general secretary Khalid Al Ali and a handful of coaches - including Ons Jabeur’s coach Essam Jellali and Elena Rybakina’s coach following a Zoom webinar earlier this week with close to 100 coaches attending from across the Arab world.

“We just thought we had to do something different for our sport after being kept away from the courts for nearly two months now. And then came this idea that we could all meet – coaches and players of various age groups in one location - and have a carnival series through a season,” Al Ali told Gulf News.

Hossam Abdul Ali

“The past few weeks have been challenging in more ways than one and as we all put our minds together, we came up with this idea of having a tennis series that would be a true testimony for everyone involved, be it the juniors or the veterans and coaches,” he added.

“We are looking at a window some time in September to have the first of our carnival series but then again, this may change according to the pandemic,” the senior official added.

Lending more credibility to the series are some of the region’s prominent coaches - Egypt’s Hossam Abdul Ali, Ahmad Al Sayed, Dr Mohammad Al Khayat and Omar Ashraf along with Iraq’s former top player Saadoun Hassan, who is now based as coach in Jordan.

Saadoun Hassan

“The main goal behind this project will be to create something new for this part of the world. We know we cannot do this by ourselves alone, and that we need everyone involved starting with the national tennis federations. We can establish a good network and then take this idea forward for the sake of tennis,” Saadoun Hassan informed Gulf News from Amman.

“We’ve got the latest coaching updates through this webinar and one of the things that can possibly take this idea forward would be to have a carnival that would celebrate tennis through an entire season. Of course, when you have so many players in one location, it would also be easier to identify talent and ensure they are on the right track towards a possible career in professional sport,” the 64-year-old added.

Hossam Abdul Ali, who managed to get a vast majority of Egyptian coaches to attend the webinar, was also hopeful of a consolidated ‘Arab dream’ for tennis. “In today’s world we are all aware that we can achieve success and results with proper and clever use of technology. Coming together on a common platform has helped us take the first steps in this direction and I am certain we will achieve our goals,” he added.