Omar Behroozian Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Long-serving Omar Behroozian will spearhead the UAE challenge as the silver jubilee edition of the annual Al Nasr Leisureland (ANL) Nations Cup tennis, which gets under way at the club courts from Thursday.

Behroozian, who has been a regular feature for the UAE Davis Cup squad for nearly two decades, will lead the charge for the hosts from Group A. With the UAE fielding two teams, Behroozian will be joined by Dubai-based Iranian Amirvala Madanchi along with the three players from the Al Janahi family, Fahad, Hamad and Fares. The UAE ‘B’ team will consist of the Al Ahli brothers Mohammad and Abdullah along with Amin Akili.

“It’s the 25th year of this annual tournament and I feel we need to do something special for us. This tournament will also help us keep our preparations for the Davis Cup on track,” Behroozian told Gulf News.

“By far, the Nations Cup has been one of the nicest tournaments for me personally as we get to experience a real teams’ competition that brings players from various backgrounds together. I am also excited to play against some of the top players in the UAE and those coming from outside as these matches will give me several opportunities to push my levels of play,” he added.

The 10 participating nations have been divided into two groups, with Group A consisting of UAE ‘A’, Philippines, Belgium, Ukraine and Syria, while Group B will consist of France, Nigeria, Tunisia, India and UAE ‘B’.

The first round of matches in the men’s competition will get under way on Thursday evening with UAE ‘A’ taking on Ukraine and Philippines playing Belgium. In Group B action on the opening day, it will be France playing India, while Nigeria will face Tunisia. After the round-robin matches, the semi-finals will be held next Wednesday and the final on February 14.

All matches will follow the format of two singles and a doubles with each team allowed to register only one outstation player. Each squad is required to have a minimum of two players and a maximum of six along with a non-playing captain.

Groupings (Group A) UAE A, Philippines, Belgium, Ukraine, Syria. (Group B) France, Nigeria, Tunisia, India, UAE B.