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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 April 2019

Abu Dhabi serves up a treat for tennis fans

The Mubadala World Tennis Championship brought the cream of the world's talent to the UAE capital, crowning a spectacular year of sport

Rafael Nadal in action during his match against Kevin Anderson at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi. Suhaib Salem / Reuters
Rafael Nadal in action during his match against Kevin Anderson at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi. Suhaib Salem / Reuters

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, with 31 Grand Slam titles between them, are both contenders for the title of greatest male tennis player of all time. In the women’s game, few would dispute that Serena Williams already holds that crown. This weekend, all three converged on Abu Dhabi for the Mubadala World Tennis Championship (MWTC). Their presence signals that the UAE capital has truly cemented itself as a port of call for the very best that international tennis has to offer.

This has been a dazzling year for sport in Abu Dhabi. From Formula 1 to the Fifa Club World Cup and the HSBC Golf Championship, the emirate has drawn phenomenal sporting talent from across the globe. The MWTC, held at Zayed Sports City, is the icing on the cake. Anyone who has been lucky enough to play on its championship court will have experienced first-hand its ability to inspire awe.

Aside from the spectacle itself – which has included not only world-class tennis but cooking sessions, autograph signings and lessons with the stars – the MWTC will have a deeper impact. Coming face to face with their heroes will inspire the UAE’s youngsters to take up the sport, or hone their skills. And it serves as an important reminder to us all of the need to stay healthy and active in a country where punishing heat pushes too many of us towards sedentary lifestyles.

The Mubadala World Tennis Championship might be ending tonight, with an electrifying final between Djokovic and South Africa’s Kevin Anderson – who took the crown last year – but the buzz it has created across the city will endure long after. There are clear parallels between the tenacity and determination exhibited on court by the likes of Williams, Nadal and Djokovic and the astonishing, rapid rise of the UAE itself, once a huddle of disparate pearling communities and now truly a global hub of business, trade, diplomacy – and top-class sport.

Updated: December 29, 2018 06:51 PM

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