x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Demand for tickets has been overwhelming, say delighted organisers

Few spectators in the appreciative crowd of nearly 5,000 would question Abu Dhabi's worthiness to become the next hot venue for world-class tennis.

ABU DHABI // Few spectators in an appreciative crowd of nearly 5,000 would question Abu Dhabi's worthiness to become the next hot venue for world-class tennis after watching a highly impressive launch to the Capitala World Championship. The exhibition tournament, having forced its way on to the calendar at the start of the new year, is here to stay, an observation observed by the event organisers IMG who are promising to keep it on the annual fixture list.

Greg Sproule, an IMG spokesman, enthused: "This is a great day for Abu Dhabi. This is part of Abu Dhabi's emergence on to the tennis scene. My understanding is that this is going to be a host venue for top-class world tennis for years to come. When we conduct special events like this we try to schedule them so that it is favourable to players in the same way as the Abu Dhabi golf championship kicks of the season for golfers.

"This is a good weather window at the beginning of the year. From a sporting perspective, to have such a high-profile event on Jan 1 is fantastic." Sproule disclosed that Tennis Emirates, the sport's governing body in the UAE, has been very much engaged in this whole process. "One of the things we have done in the planning of this was to reach out to them and work with them as much as possible," he said. "We appreciate that we can always do better in dealing with the authorities and we are open to discussions with them on how we can do so."

The organisers are delighted with the response to the launch of the US$250,000 (Dh918,262) tournament which has stretched the 5,000 capacity of the splendid stadium in the capital. "If we had a stadium for 7,000 we would be happier because the demand for tickets has been overwhelming, which is a credit to everybody who has helped with the build-up to this," added Sproule. wjohnson@thenational.ae