Novak Djokovic and Venus Williams confirmed for Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi
Flash Entertainment say Djokovic, winner of 14 major titles, will return to the capital for the December 27-29 event, alongside the seven-time grand slam women's champion Williams
Novak Djokovic, the 14-time grand slam champion, and seven-time major winner Venus Williams are the first names confirmed for this year's Mubadala World Tennis Championship (MWTC), organisers announced on Tuesday.
Flash Entertainment confirmed Djokovic will return to the capital for the December 27-29 tournament, now in its 11th year. It will mark the Serb's fifth appearance at the exhibition event, traditionally used by some of the world's top players as a tune-up ahead of the Australian Open, the first grand slam of the year, in January.
Djokovic won the Abu Dhabi title three years in a row from 2011-13.
The world No 3 has been in red-hot form this year after struggling for much of 2017 with injuries and a loss of form. He will arrive in the UAE on the back of winning back-to-back grand slams, after adding last month's US Open crown to his Wimbledon title in July.
“It has always been an honour to play in Abu Dhabi and I can’t wait to see my fans once again this year," Djokovic, 31, said. "The championship offers the perfect opportunity to fine-tune my preparations ahead of the Australian Open and I am really looking forward to competing there again.”
Joining Djokovic will be American Williams, 38, who will face an as yet unnamed opponent in a one-off match at the Abu Dhabi International Tennis Centre at Zayed Sports City. It marks the second successive year a Williams will play in the capital after Venus's sister Serena used the MWTC to make her return to tennis last year, after the birth of her first child.
“This will be my first time playing at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship and I am really looking forward to it," said Venus, winner of 49 WTA titles.
"I’ve heard such great things about the championship and the city from my sister, Serena. I can’t wait to meet my fans and play in front of what I hear is a very passionate crowd.”
Organisers announced a theme for the three days of action at this year's tournament. Day 1 will be centred around families with free entry for children age 2-12 with the purchase of an adult ticket. Day 2 will cater for food lovers and Day 3 will be dedicated to women.
John Lickrish, chief executive of Flash, said: “We’re delighted Novak Djokovic will be returning to the tournament and thrilled to welcome Venus Williams to Abu Dhabi for the first time. The decision to welcome female players last year proved extremely popular; supporting women in tennis is something we will continue to do, especially as the tournament grows in prominence on the global stage.
“As tickets go on sale, we encourage all fans to take advantage of the early bird promotion and as an added incentive we are offering the three-day packages at a 20 per cent discount thereby enabling families to make the most of a truly spectacular sporting event.”
Tickets will go on sale on Wednesday from 12pm. As an added early-bird incentive, fans purchasing tickets between October 3-13 will stand a chance to win signed MWTC star player merchandise each day during the promotion period.
Tickets are priced from Dh100 and can be purchased from www.ticketmaster.ae or by calling 800 86 823 and all Virgin Megastores across the UAE.
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Updated: October 2, 2018 02:21 PM