FLASH Entertainment, the region’s premier live events company, in partnership with Mubadala, the Abu Dhabi investment and development company, today revealed the full, star-studded line-up for the Mubadala World Tennis Championship which will take place January 1-3, 2015. Six of the world’s top players will descend on the capital once again for three days of raw, competitive play between the best of the best as they look to kick-start 2015 at the annual pre-season tournament.
World number one Novak Djokovic and world number two Rafael Nadal were quick to confirm their places at the Championship earlier this summer alongside current Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka and two-time major champion Andy Murray. Rounding off the stellar line-up at the tournament of tennis in its purest form is fan-favourite and world number 12, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The Frenchman makes a welcome return to the capital alongside his compatriot and one of tennis’ biggest characters, Gaël Monfils. Following a successful year which saw Tsonga and Monfils work together to steer their French team to the final of the Davis Cup, the pair will be focusing on their own games as they aim for singles glory against the world’s best players at the International Tennis Centre at Zayed Sports City.
In the seventh year of the tournament it’s anyone’s game as all three of the previous Mubadala World Tennis Championship champions will battle it out for the top spot. The impressive bill of talent includes the current world number one and defending champion, Novak Djokovic, who in 2013 became the first player to win the tournament three times and sits favourite to reclaim the title. Standing in the reigning Wimbledon champion’s way to further Abu Dhabi success is one of the sport’s all-time greats, Rafael Nadal. With 14 major wins, the reigning French Open Champion is best placed to challenge Djokovic’s dominance in the capital as the rivalry between the pair is extended further.
Inaugural Mubadala World Tennis Championship victor and two-time major winner, Andy Murray, returns to Abu Dhabi with a firm focus on getting his year and season off to a winning start and will also be looking to stave off the stiff competition to take home the crown in 2015.
World number four Stan Wawrinka poses a serious threat, however, as he has shown he is capable of beating the top players in stunning form over recent years. The Swiss star beat Djokovic to win the first Grand Slam of the season in January, the Australian Open, also seeing off competition from Nadal en route. All three players went on to compete in Melbourne after a strong build-up at last year’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship.
For world number 12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the event is an opportunity to start the new season on a high. The Frenchman commented:
“I’m thrilled to be returning to Abu Dhabi – the Mubadala World Tennis Championship is the perfect way to start the year not only because of the opportunity for some tough competitive matches, but also because of the time we get to spend with the community off the court, too. Meeting fans, signing autographs and coaching young players are things we don’t get the time to do at other major tournaments but are what makes the job so much more rewarding.”
January will see French star Gaël Monfils return to the UAE capital having made his debut at the tournament three years ago. With a firm focus on further success through 2015, the 28 year old knows just how big an opportunity the Abu Dhabi Championship represents:
“I’m excited to be one of the select players invited back to the tournament again this year. All of the players talk about Abu Dhabi and it has become a key part of the pre-season calendar. It’s important for me to hit the ground running at the start of the year and the timings are perfect for us to get a lot of good matches in at the highest level, and I’m really looking forward to it.”
The full player line-up was revealed at a press conference in the capital today, hosted by tennis legend and former Grand Slam Champion, Pat Cash. He commented:
“It’s easy to see why the top players choose to return to Abu Dhabi year on year as the atmosphere is second to none. At that time of year, everyone is in a celebratory mood and the crowds play such a huge role in creating this environment with their endless enthusiasm. That stems from the interactions they’re able to have with the players – the Mubadala World Tennis Championship offers a level of accessibility to these top sportsmen that is truly unrivalled.
For me, I’m also excited to continue to play a part in growing the game in the region and inspiring new stars, through the tournament’s community programmes. It’s something close to my heart and I’ve been fortunate enough to share my knowledge back home in London and Australia at my own tennis academy, so I hope I can continue to have a positive contribution here, too.”
Resuming his role as Mubadala World Tennis Championship ambassador, Cash also launched the tournament’s community programmes with a tennis clinic for school children from 20 schools and their physical education teachers.
The two community programs, Mubadala Tennis in Schools and the Mubadala Community Cup, aim to ensure a legacy for tennis in the UAE. The Mubadala Tennis in Schools program returns again in 2014 and for the first time, has been extended to run throughout the school year from October to May. A programme which has already introduced thousands of UAE youngsters to the sport of tennis, Mubadala Tennis in Schools gives young people the opportunity to take their first swings in the sport whilst promoting a healthy lifestyle for the next generation by delivering equipment and coaching sessions to 20 schools across Abu Dhabi. This year, the focus will continue to be on developing tennis amongst Emirati children who will be given more opportunities to practice their skills with UAE coaches visiting each school four times. At the end of the program, 40 children - two from each participating school - will be invited to display their newly acquired talents on centre court during the Championship.
The Mubadala Community Cup returns to see tennis fans of all ages compete to win a once in a lifetime tennis clinic with a star player during the Championship itself. Following the success of the previous year, the latest instalment will see the return of Mubadala Community Cup’s inter-Emirate play-off when winners from Abu Dhabi compete with winners from Dubai during the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in January. Registration is now open at www.mubadalawtc.com with a new category added for coaches.
Nadine Saleh Hassan, Head of Social Development and Partnerships at Mubadala, the title sponsor of the tournament, added:
“Once again the line-up for the Mubadala World Tennis Championship is hugely exciting with the world’s best players returning to Abu Dhabi. We believe that young people are the most important part of the UAE’s development and hope that the world’s elite tennis players and our community programs continue to serve as an inspiration for Emirati youth to live fit and active lives.”
Tickets for January’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship are on sale at www.ticketmaster.ae and all Virgin Megastore outlets across the UAE or by calling 800 TM UAE (86 823). Prices start from AED 50 for upper bowl seating, with exclusive premier hospitality packages also available including food and beverage offers, star player meet and greets and premier stadium seating. Race ticket holders redeeming their Y1 Access benefits will receive a 20% discount on Category 2 tickets. Y1 Access is the money off advantage programme for buyers of tickets to the yearly race and extends across a selection of major FLASH concerts and events from the time of purchase until February 2015.