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UAE's exciting prospect Fares Aljanahi is eagerly awaiting the opportunity in the high-profile World Padel League, to be held from June 8-11. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: UAE’s promising talent Fares Aljanahi aims to make the most of the opportunity to compete with his idols while also setting future goals of competing against the elite in three to five years’ time.

UAE’s eighth seed will be among a star-studded Panthers’ team in the four-team World Padel League, organised in collaboration with the Dubai Sports Council, Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) and Dubai Calendar, to be held at Coca-Cola Arena from June 8 to 11.

Impressive line-up

Aljanahi will join an impressive line-up, featuring world-class talents such as No 1-ranked Agustin Tapia, Arturo Coello and Beatriz Gonzalez, ranked No 4 and 5, Lucia Sainz and Aranzazu Osoro, both No 8, and Alejandro Ruiz Granados, ranked No 14.

“I’m really happy to share the court with some of the top players, most of them are my idols like Tapia and Coello. So I really look up to their showing in the court and being in the same team is a great privilege for me,” the 24-year-old, who trains at World Padel Academy, told Gulf News on Monday.

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Fares Aljanahi and Abdullah Abdullah have won many titles together, but they will be playing against each other in the four-team World Padel League. Image Credit: Supplied

Different level of competition

The exceptional UAE talent, who was part of the winning team in the First GCC Padel Cup, doesn’t want to put himself under tremendous pressure in the World Padel League and instead wants to enjoy the moment. “I don’t want to set my expectations too high, because this will be a different level. I’ll be exposed to a different environment. I am not really concerned about the results, but what I want to target is to gain as much knowledge as I can. I won’t let my targets affect my performance. I want to learn as much as I can from the stars, because my goal in three to five years is to compete with them.”

Aljanahi is among the four UAE stars — Abdullah Abdullah, Abdullah Ahli and Salem Alhouli — who will be exposed to the big stage to gain invaluable experience. Aljanahi and Abdullah Abdullah have won the UAE Nationals Wild Card championship and became the first from UAE and the Arab region to enter World Padel Tour main draw in February this year. Aljanahi and Abdullah Abdullah have arrived in UAE on the back of winning the Pink Padel Bahrain Matchpot Challenger on Sunday.

The missing link

“I think it’s very important to be part of events like the World Padel League, it’s one thing that is missing for us as UAE national team players. We’re competing in this region, but we’re not really exposed to the international players a lot. So having the experience to play against these players and just being around them, seeing how they are different on and off the court, will help me understand why they’re performing to their best,” said Aljanahi, who is set to complete his Bachelor’s Degree in International Business at the Canadian University of Dubai.

Aljanahi has been playing on professional circuits for a couple of years now and has his own way of managing his studies and the sport. He trains a lot during off-season and just picks his tournaments to attain peak performance during the season. This planning allows him the time to focus on his studies. He also cherishes the contests between the UAE players in the World Padel League.

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Fares Aljanahi targets one step at a time. The eighth-ranked star first wants to get UAE No 1 spot and then the region and finally targets international honours. Image Credit: Supplied

“Honestly, they’re my teammates any day, I see them every day and play with them every day. This is where I’m most familiar with, so it’s not going to be something that’s very odd for me. It’s kind of a nice feeling to play against them while also playing with the international players,” he added.

Great experience

Padel has been making rapid strides in the last decade as one of the fastest growing sport and the bigger events like the World Cup in 2022 and the World Padel Tour will only accentuate the progress in lifting the standards of the game to greater heights in the country.

“The World Cup we hosted was a big achievement and a big move for us in the padel community. We hosted one of the best World Cups which was a great achievement for us. So the next one was the Word Padel Tour, which is huge as it is for the first time it’s held in the region. I had the opportunity to play the tournament, alongside my partner Abdullah Abdullah, which was a great experience. This was the first time I got the proper exposure playing with these players, and the World Padel Tour will be the second time I get to experience it,” he added.

One step at a time

“One of my targets is obviously to be the top-ranked player in the UAE, and, hopefully, gain more control in the region. Once I have a good understanding at a very high level in the region, then I want to start competing internationally more,” he concluded.

Match schedule:

Day 1 — June 8

2pm: Cheetahs vs Jaguars

6pm: Panthers vs Tigers

Day 2 — June 9

2pm: Cheetahs vs Jaguars

6pm: Panthers vs Tigers

Day 3 — June 10

2pm: Cheetahs vs Jaguars

6pm: Panthers vs Tigers

Day 4 — June 11

2pm: WPL Finals


June 9: Simply Red, 9.30pm

June 10: Nicky Romero, 9:30pm

June 11: Mithoon and friends, 7pm

Book your tickets now on Coca-Cola Arena’s officialwebsite, Platinum List, andVirgin Megastore. Ticketsfor Day 1 and Day 4 are at a special rate of Dh99 only and a single ticket is for both the padel matches and the concerts on Day 2 and Day 3.

For more information, visit www.wplworld.com or call +971 58 592 6993.