ABU DHABI // Negotiations are understood to be at an advanced stage between prominent events organisers in Abu Dhabi and the world's top-six men's players to bring a three-day tournament to the capital to kick off the sporting new year. The plan is to secure contracts for that six to compete in Abu Dhabi just before the 2009 Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) season opens in neighbouring Qatar on Jan 5.
The ExxonMobil Open is one of three official men's tour events scheduled to be played that week, and was won at the start of this year by Britain's Andy Murray who will be one of the players sought after by the Abu Dhabi organisers. Others on the Abu Dhabi list are the world No 1 Rafael Nadal, the Spaniard who earlier this year swapped places with Switzerland's Roger Federer, a man who has a residence in Dubai and has won the popular tournament at the Aviation Club there on four occasions, Novak Djokovic, the outstanding young Serb, Spain's David Ferrer and Nikolay Davydenko, of Russia.
Andy Roddick, the American who won this year's Dubai Championships, could be a late addition to the line-up if he regains his best form over the closing weeks of the season and overhauls Davydenko, who occupies sixth position in the ATP rankings. Roddick has until the concluding Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai from Nov 10-16, which annually features the world's top eight, to stake his claim for a return visit to the UAE.
This initiative is the latest attempt to bring top quality tennis to Abu Dhabi to supplement the Dubai Championships in February, which attract the cream of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) during the first week and then feature the top men for the second week. Abu Dhabi Sports Council have made an official bid to stage a WTA tour event which they hope to secure by 2010 and leading officials in that organisation have made no secret of their desire to emulate Dubai by adding an ATP tournament.
The unsanctioned showpiece involving the world's top six would undoubtedly assist in any future initiative to present an official men's draw of 32 players. email@example.com