x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Women's event deserves place in Abu Dhabi

With Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal once again confirmed to compete in the New Year men's showpiece, the prospect of introducing a women's event in Abu Dhabi appears as distant as it did three years ago.

In 2007, in the aftermath of Flash Entertainment and IMG's announcement that Abu Dhabi would welcome a world-class line-up for its inaugural men's singles tennis championship, one of the first questions put to organisers was whether they intended to one day host a women's equivalent.

Both parties were noncommittal, but admitted it was something they were looking to explore. Yet, this week, with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal once again confirmed to compete in the New Year men's showpiece, the prospect of introducing a women's event appears as distant as it did three years ago.

With Kim Clijsters securing the WTA Championships in Doha earlier this week and the year-ending event heading to Turkey from next year, Abu Dhabi is in a perfect position to push to ensure the Gulf maintains its prominent presence on the WTA calendar.

With the facilities at the Abu Dhabi Tennis Complex, the infrastructure is already in place for a Tour event.

Looking at the 2011 schedule, there is a clear week starting on October 10. Sandwiched between Beijing and Istanbul, a tournament in the capital would allow the players to stop off in the UAE during a period when the temperature is cooling down.

It would also provide Abu Dhabi-based sports enthusiasts the perfect tonic at a time when the city's thirst for live sport waits to be quenched by events such as the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

 

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae