x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Becker sees a Masters in UAE's big tennis future

The legend is confident the Emirates will hold one of the sport's biggest tournaments on the ATP 1000 series before too long.

Boris Becker was the winner of six grand slams.
Boris Becker was the winner of six grand slams.

DUBAI// Tennis legend Boris Becker is confident the Emirates will hold one of the sport's biggest tournaments before too long. The UAE is already host to two start-studded events at the start of the year, but Becker, the winner of six grand slams, including three Wimbledon titles, thinks there is room for another big event. While thoughts of hosting a major would be wishful thinking, since "Grand Slam" is a registered trademark owned by the Australian Open, French Open, US Open and Wimbledon, Becker thinks a Series 1000 Masters event will come here soon.

"Grand Slams have a lot to do with traditions and history," said Becker, who was in Dubai on behalf of Laureus, who host their World Sports Awards in Abu Dhabi tomorrow night. "Tennis is a very old sport, Wimbledon has been played for over 125 years, so are the other Grand Slams. I think that's what makes tennis so special. "On the other hand, there is a series below that, called ATP 1000 series, which all the top players play.

"This is as close to a Grand Slam as you are going to get. "Dubai already has a very great tournament, but I am sure with the right people behind, you are going to get a big tournament here. "It is a great part of the world with lots of tennis enthusiasts, with a bit of history as well." Despite his optimism, Becker also warned that finding a space for another event may not be easy. "It's just that the tennis calendar is very stretched. Next week all the tennis boys go to California, then to Miami," said Becker.

"So it's non-stop travel. But we have a tennis tournament that has been here for a long time. "You should mention all the golf tournaments that are in the region. Just a month ago all the best players in the world came here. "The Formula One is in November, so there are a number of great sporting events in the region and it would be great to see a Masters as well." The UAE already attracts some of the world's leading players at the start of each year.

Many of the top-10 ranked players in the men's game are invited to take part in the six-man Capitala World Championship in Abu Dhabi at the turn of the year. Men and women players then return, in greater numbers, a month later for the Dubai Tennis Championships (DTC), which include a Premier WTA event and a Series 500 ATP tournament. To put it in context, the ATP have 11 Series 500 events on their calendar.

These tournaments rank below the nine Series 1000 championships, as well as the four Grand Slams. @Email:arizvi@thenational.ae