x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Murray triumphs in Capitala thriller

Andy Murray wins the 2009 Capitala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi after a thrilling match.

Britain's Andy Murray salutes the crowd after beating Spanish top-seeded player Rafael Nadal in the final of the Capitala World Tennis Championship.
Britain's Andy Murray salutes the crowd after beating Spanish top-seeded player Rafael Nadal in the final of the Capitala World Tennis Championship.

ABU DHABI // Andy Murray, the young Scotsman, claimed a thrilling victory over the world No 1 Rafael Nadal in the final of the Capitala World Tennis Championship last night. Murray won a hard-fought match lasting two hours and 45 minutes at the Zayed Sports City Stadium. The match brought to a close three days of top-quality tennis, played in front of a 5,000-strong capacity crowd, which left a worldwide television audience in no doubt that the UAE capital is now on the tennis map.

An exhausted Murray, who won the final 6-4, 5-7, 6-3, praised the crowd for giving him a memorable first visit to Abu Dhabi. "The atmosphere over the last three days has been really amazing," he said. "It's been so much fun to come here." All six players who were invited to the US$250,000 (Dh918,260), winner-takes-all showpiece said they were enthralled by their first visit to the capital. Their views were best summed up by Roger Federer, the Swiss player, who spends much of his spare time at his Dubai residence but until now had never been to Abu Dhabi. Federer, who dominated world tennis for more than four years before being deposed as the top-ranked player by Nadal last summer, said: "I wanted the tournament to be my first impression of Abu Dhabi. It has been a great experience. "The weather here is always perfect and the people are very friendly. I hope I am invited back next year. If I am I will certainly accept. It is a terrific way to start a new year, even though I lost the only match I played here. That's a pity but it didn't spoil things for me." The match was attended by senior members of the Abu Dhabi Government. Peter Wilding, the deputy CEO of title sponsor Capitala, was delighted with the successful launch of what the developer intends to be an annual event. "One of our aims has been to encourage more people, particularly schoolchildren and young adults, to participate actively in this game as well as other sports. With the success of initiatives such as the Capitala Community Cup and tennis clinics, we believe that we have made real progress in starting this journey with the people of Abu Dhabi," he said. John Lickrish, the managing director of the tournament organisers, Flash, said: "The Abu Dhabi World Tennis Championship is without doubt one of our most exciting initiatives to date. As the first international tennis event in Abu Dhabi, it is a key part of the city's emergence as a sport and leisure destination." wjohnson@thenational.ae