International Tennis Complex at Zayed Sports City is no stranger to tennis superstars Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Dubai: The International Tennis Complex at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi has called out for an urgent need of ball kids and line officials for the inaugural WTA 500 women’s international tennis that is scheduled in the UAE capital from January 5 to 13, 2021.

While the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) is expected to clear the air with the announcement of at least a tentative calendar later this week, the WTA 500 in Abu Dhabi is a certainty with organisers working round the clock to ensure a smooth debut into professional women’s tennis.

However, with organisation of the inaugural tournament reaching advanced stages, organisers have been probing various possibilities to get ball kids and other officials to serve the competition in early January.

“We have just started midterm vacations for schools in the UAE. So getting the required 140-odd ball kids from schools will be next to impossible during this period in the first half of January. The second option will be to try and bring ball kids through personal contacts and through tennis academies in other parts of the country. We have been trying our best to come to a solution in this regard,” a member of the organising committee told Gulf News on condition of anonymity.

“Looking at the tight time frame that we need to select and hire the right numbers and conduct adequate training is going to be a big hurdle. It would be great if we can get the ball kids and other allied staff right here in the UAE as the Abu Dhabi tournament is a closed-door event.”

Besides the tournament on the opening week of the WTA, the qualifying rounds for the Australian Open are also scheduled to be played out in Dubai at the same time. The qualifiers and other top players who have already landed in the UAE will be chartered across to Melbourne for the season-opening Grand Slam that is scheduled to start on February 8.

Detailed information about the Abu Dhabi tournament is yet to be revealed, but event organisers are going ahead full-steam in putting things together for a smooth conduct of the competition.

Another practical hurdle before the organising committee is that schools will resume on January 3 and with the tournament starting during the same week, parents will be wary of sending their children as ball kids at the event. “The idea at the moment is to double the numbers of ball kids to be hired, so they can work on alternate days at the tournament, and that seems to be one of the options,” the official disclosed.

A full information pack and application form is set to be distributed to all clubs and academies in Abu Dhabi and can be downloaded at bit.ly/3mbBN83.