x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

World's top tennis players may arrive battered and bruised in Abu Dhabi

The organisers of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship will be watching the season-ending ATP Tour finals with crossed fingers, hoping their star-studded line-up makes it to Abu Dhabi unscathed.

Abu Dhabi will watch finals with fingers crossed

Organisers of the year-ending Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi must be alternately rubbing and wringing their hands.

If the six men who have committed to playing in the December 29-31 event show up safe and relatively sound, Abu Dhabi will have something very much like the closing stages of a grand slam.

To refresh memories, the Abu Dhabi line-up: Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, David Ferrer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils.

Those names represent players currently ranked Nos 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 in the world, with Monfils at No 15 but on his day capable of beating nearly any of them.

However, the sketchy health of the three men at the top cannot help but be a local concern. Djokovic, Nadal and Federer each have missed significant chunks of the season, since the US Open.

One event remains on the 2011 ATP docket, the ATP World Tour Finals in London next week. After that, the players have more than four weeks off ahead of the UAE capital's big event.

It would be entirely understandable if Abu Dhabi officials watch the Tour Finals not so much for great tennis as for telltale signs of aching shoulders, backs or knees.

They are just a few weeks away from boasting a line-up of such expertise that anyone strolling in to the Zayed Sports City stadium on December 30 could be excused for thinking they had been transported to Roland Garros or the All England Club on the second Friday of a fortnight.