November 14, 2015
The official draw for the most competitive Mubadala World Tennis Championship yet was made today at Yas Mall with the help of tennis enthusiasts as well as tournament ambassador and former Grand Slam champion, Pat Cash. The public draw set up a high-octane opening with all players at the top of their game for the annual tournament which will start on December 31st. Setting the tone of raw excitement from the start will be a stunning showdown between the pacey world number seven, David Ferrer, and Abu Dhabi crowd thriller, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Meanwhile, two tournament newcomers will play the second match of day one, with either Kevin Anderson, the hard-hitting South African who stands tall at a massive 6’8”, or Milos Raonic, himself one of the most powerful and precise servers in the game, going through to play on day two.
Today’s draw also sets up a potentially thrilling final with Stan Wawrinka, double Grand Slam champion, and the legendary Rafael Nadal, both getting a bye into the second day of the championship.
Australian tennis legend and former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash was on hand to make the draw with help from the public today in Abu Dhabi, as well as hosting a masterclass with youngsters from this year’s Mubadala Tennis in Schools programme. He commented:
“The Mubadala World Tennis Championship always serves up some amazing action and memorable tennis for the Middle East. This competition has become renowned for its star studded line up and hard hitting tennis as a perfect campaign-opener for any player going into the New Year. Every player likes to get their year underway with a good, solid performance and hopefully a win, so to do it here in Abu Dhabi against the best really helps build confidence for the year ahead. Players love coming and competing here in the UAE and although we see fierce competition on the court, there is a relaxed environment off of it and players have the chance to spend time meeting fans and coaching youngsters. Overall it is a great experience for all, and a fantastic display of the sport we love at its best.”
Opening the eighth annual Mubadala World Tennis Championship will be Tsonga v. Ferrer. After an injury prone start to the year, Tsonga has turned his season around and found excellent form over recent months to win his third Metz title at the Moselle Open and reach the finals of the Shanghai Masters. Tsonga will be looking to claim a win over world number seven, David Ferrer, who recently secured a milestone 25th ATP World Tour title at the Malaysian Open and who also beat the Frenchman at their last meeting in the semi-finals at Roland Garros. Should Tsonga prove successful, however, he’ll go through to play Nadal on day two who he knocked out of the Shanghai Masters earlier this year in the semi-finals. But with Ferrer leading the head-to-head 3-1 against Tsonga and himself a regular feature in the finals in Abu Dhabi, that could be a tough ask.
Milos Raonic will make his Mubadala World Tennis Championship debut on December 31st and the Canadian superstar is not here to play games. Milos broke into the top four in the world earlier this year and has been in fine form. He’ll face off against the statuesque South African with one of the biggest serves in the game, Kevin Anderson.
The two have met on court only twice and are currently level in their head-to-head. This is also Anderson’s first taste of Abu Dhabi action and he will want to make a good impression on UAE soil. Anderson’s biggest moment this year came when he defeated Andy Murray in the US Open and advanced to his first ever Quarter Finals in a Grand Slam.
With two newcomers set to go head-to-head for their first chance at the coveted Abu Dhabi title, fans can be sure of an explosive match to send them into the New Year.
The draw today also saw the UAE turn their excitement to a possible head to head between world number four, Stan Wawrinka, and two-time Mubadala World Tennis Championship victor, Rafael Nadal. The Swiss star leads the pair’s head to head battles in 2015 having overcome Nadal twice this year, both at quarter final stages and most recently at the BNP Paribas Masters earlier this month. Both players will be looking to start their 2016 campaign with a win in Abu Dhabi and signal to the world who is the dominant player going into the New Year.
The Mubadala World Tennis Championship boasts a thrilling line up of elite talent; a unique combination of a ‘winner-takes-all’ prize of US $250,000 and a championship format that paves the way for the world’s best players to battle it out in this ruthless championship that will serve up action-packed thrills from the first point to the last.
As well as providing three days of world-class action in the capital, the tournament aims to leave a legacy for tennis and grow the game through two grassroots programmes including the Mubadala Tennis in Schools (MTiS) programme. The inspirational community initiative, championed by Mubadala, gives local students aged 7-10 from across all schools in Abu Dhabi the chance to take their first steps in the sport by introducing them to a series of tennis sessions taking place each week at International Tennis Centre, Zayed Sports City. The program provides pupils coaching within the professional tennis environment they need to nurture a life-long passion for the game from an early age, and encourage an active and healthy lifestyle. Thanks to the success of the program, this year MTiS has been extended to run throughout the full school year.