December 19, 2018
MWTC introduced the women’s side to the tournament for the first time last year, which saw Serena Williams go up against French Open Champion Jelena Ostapenko. Bringing female superstars to the tournament has not only played an active role in inspiring women to take up a healthier lifestyle but also cemented Abu Dhabi’s ambitions of encouraging a stronger female presence in sports. And this year, the popular format of the tournament is set to continue its commitment to gender equality, with Day One of the tournament seeing the Williams’ sisters take to the court, in what will probably become one of the Capital’s most exciting and exclusive sporting events it has ever seen.
The Williams sisters are without doubt two of the most powerful women in sport today. Venus Williams, the elder sibling and 7-time Grand Slam champion, will be making her debut at MWTC this year. Having won a total of four Olympic Gold medals, she is also one of only four women to have won five or more Wimbledon singles titles in the Open era. She also held the record for clocking the 5th fastest serve at 207.6 km/h in the 2007 US Open.
Joining Venus is her sister and inspirational women’s tennis Champion, Serena Williams. The 23-time Grand Slam Champion will be returning to MWTC this year and will go up against her sister for the very first time in Abu Dhabi.
Voted 2018 WTA Comeback Player of the Year, Serena is the second player to win two “Serena Slams”, an achievement for holding all four Grand Slam titles at once, but not in the same calendar year. The tennis superstar, who is considered by many as one of the world’s greatest female players, will also be aiming to equal the record for the most Grand Slam wins at the Australian Open in January 2019, making the MWTC the perfect chance to hone her skills.
While their list of achievements goes on, it is no surprise that their success story has been nothing short of an inspiration to many young girls and women alike. Having the most powerful sisters in sport compete in the MWTC’s only proves the tournament’s dedication towards woman empowerment in sports. But MWTC’s commitment to women in sport goes even further than this.
The tournament has played an active role in developing local talent and in particular, female players. This year’s Mubadala Community Cup saw the introduction of an all-new Women’s format thereby encouraging and nurturing more girls to take up sports.
Vickie Gunnarsson, Event Director at Mubadala World Tennis Championship, commented: “Having the most powerful sisters in the game come down and play at the MWTC means a lot to us. Not only does it make for an exciting match, but it also helps pave the way towards promoting women in sports even further in the region. Serena and Venus Williams are iconic names in tennis and their collective efforts have encouraged countless young girls to pursue a sporting career.”
The Capital has recently shown great support for women in sports, complete with female exclusive tournaments, national teams and even entire institutes dedicated to women’s sports including the set-up of the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy (FBMA).
Under the patronage of H.H Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Mother of the Nation, Chairwomen of the General Women’s Union (GWU), Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF) and Chairwoman of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, the FBMA was constituted with the goal of inspiring women and younger generations to adopt healthier lifestyles. The Academy not only provides coaching, training and resources for practice but also hosts a wide range of regional tournaments and events. The FBMA is also known for hosting the International Conference of Sports for Women (ICSW) and football which is promoted by the Women Football Committee.
In addition, the government also provides training and coaching to up and coming female athletes in popular sports including swimming, Weight Lifting, Track and Field, Figure Skating, Rugby and Parkour and provides them with all the support required to leave their mark on the global stage. This has resulted in female athletes representing the country at the Olympics.
The attendance of the Williams’ sisters at MWTC will only serve to reinforce this commitment – and truly place Abu Dhabi as one of the foremost locations for encouraging young women to get into sport.
Along with the powerful sisters, this year’s MWTC lineup will also include six top male players. The top names include world number one and 14-time Grand Slam Champion Novak Djokovic, world number two and 17-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal, alongside last year’s defending MWTC champion, Kevin Anderson, French Open finalist, Dominic Thiem, Australian Open semi-finalist Hyeon Chung and recent Paris Masters Champion, Karen Khachanov.