Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 22 January 2020

Daniil Medvedev hails success of Diriyah Tennis Cup with Abu Dhabi his next port of call

Russian world No 5 won the inaugural tournament by beating Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-2

Russian world No 5 Daniil Medvedev signs a tennis ball for a fan at the inaugural Diriyah Tennis Cup held in Saudi Arabia over the weekend. Courtesy photo
Russian world No 5 Daniil Medvedev signs a tennis ball for a fan at the inaugural Diriyah Tennis Cup held in Saudi Arabia over the weekend. Courtesy photo

Newly-crowned Diriyah Tennis Cup champion Daniil Medvedev has called for the tournament to have its own regular slot on the calendar following a successful first edition.

The Russian beat Italy's Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-2 to win the inaugural Diriyah Tennis Cup, having earlier disposed of David Goffin and Jan-Lennard Struff.

The three-day tournament featured eight of the world’s best players including three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka competing for $3 million (Dh11m) prize money in Saudi Arabia. It was held at the same 15,000-seater Diriyah Arena that hosted the epic "Clash On The Dunes" heavyweight boxing match between Andy Ruiz Jr and Anthony Joshua a week earlier.

“I really loved everything here – organisation, court, fans, people. Everything was super great and hopefully it’s not going to stop and I’m going to come back next year," Medvedev said. "I think in three or four years it could be one of the best tournaments on Tour."

Goffin echoed Medvedev's sentiments that the Kingdom was ready to host an annual tournament, saying the fans were "super excited" to see so many elite players in action.

"The atmosphere was super nice on centre court," the Belgian world No 11 said. "Dubai and Doha have big tournaments, so why not here too? I think they have everything here to have a good tournament, so why not? I think they are ready.”

The Tennis Cup was part of the Diriyah Season celebrating a host of high-level sporting and music events, which concludes this weekend with the Diriyah Equestrian Festival.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal Al Saud, chairman of the General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia (GSA), confirmed that plans for the tournament’s return in 2020 were already underway.

“This is only the start of tennis in our country but what an incredible start,” Prince Abdulaziz said.

“Already in a single week huge strides have been made and the sport has earned a place in the hearts of so many, young and old, boys and girls. I am extremely proud that a perfect platform has been built for tennis to grow.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal Al Saud, Chairman of the General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia, says he was inspired to pick up a tennis racquet. Courtesy photo
Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal Al Saud, Chairman of the General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia, says he was inspired to pick up a tennis racquet. Courtesy photo

“When we pictured staging an international event, the scenes here today are exactly what we hoped for. World class tennis being played to a full stadium and players made to feel right at home. I know this will have inspired a lot of people to pick up a racquet, including myself! Already we are discussing plans for an even bigger and better 2020 edition."

Medvedev, 23, now turns his attention to the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, starting Thursday.

The world No 5 plays 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals winner Hyeon Chung in the second match on Day 1, with the winner due to face top-ranked Rafael Nadal in the second semi-final on Friday.

Updated: December 16, 2019 03:53 PM

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