A record-breaking field of more than 500 tennis players of all ages and abilities are expected to take to Zayed Sports City’s International Tennis Centre next month, as the Abu Dhabi Wilson Tennis Cup returns to the capital from 6 – 27 March.
25 divisions in the Open and Cup categories will ensure that play is evenly matched throughout the 500 expected entries. Divisions separate men, women, boys and girls by both age and talent. At the end of the tournament, 31 winners will be awarded cash and gift prizes.
The two previous Men’s trophy winners, Peter Wessels, a former ATP number 47 ranked player, and the UAE’s best player Omar Behrouzian, have hopes of meeting again in the final. At the inaugural event, Wessels won the match 6-1, 7-6 in a thrilling encounter in the 2013 final, only to be ruled out from the 2014 tournament through knee injury.
“It is a great challenge to play against top talents and alongside rising stars,” said Behrouzian, 32. “Seeing young athletes receive their trophies and then holding mine next to them is very special for the sport. It is events like this that help strengthen tennis in the UAE and show other countries that we can be competitive.”
Inaugurated in 2013, the tournament was developed to build on the excitement of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship and grow the game of tennis in the UAE. It also fills a gap in the competitive tennis calendar as there are limited opportunities for community play amongst adults in the Emirates, and high performance youth have few chances to play with anyone other than their coach.
Beyond the top players, casual tennis players will also participate for the social atmosphere and school children, 140 of whom take lessons at Zayed Sports City, have the chance to meet new opposition.
The tournament has seen a significant year-on-year increase in attendance, growing from 83 players in 2013 to 280 last year. With a cash prize pot of AED 31,500 and gifts valued at 11,500, even more are expected to participate in 2015.
More than 100 players participated in multiple categories, including talented juniors testing their skills in adult divisions. Among them will be UAE National Team Players Faris and Fahad Jahani, plus ITF ranked Juniors Sanjana Sudhir (ITF Grade 4 ranking 429) and Nour Nehme (ranking 1,700).
“I enjoy playing in the Abu Dhabi Wilson Tennis Cup because there are a lot of categories,” said 17-year-old Nour. There is a lot of experience with good players coming from all around the UAE. We play Junior circuit most of the time so this is a chance to play against the big guys.”
“I usually play against my coach for practice, but this year I will play with coaches in the Men’s and Mixed Doubles and I’ll also play U18 and Men’s Cup Singles,” he added.
Entries for the third Abu Dhabi Wilson Tennis Cup are now open. Registrations are accepted at the International Tennis Centre or by contacting Laith Al Ani at email@example.com or 050 4640824. Fees range from AED 60 to AED 150 per entry. More information is found here.