Kids' Day to kick-off MWTC

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Don't miss your chance to see the stars in Abu Dhabi.

Serving as the perfect family-friendly playground for the unmissable season-opening tournament, the adjoining Tennis Village will play host to a series of activities including meet and greet opportunities with the tennis stars of the world-class championship.

Fans are vying for their chance to get up close to the stars in what is undoubtedly one of the strongest player headlines to date.

World No.1 Andy Murray, 14-time Grand Slam Champion Rafael Nadal, World No. 3 Milos Raonic, Czech giant Tomas Berdych, tournament newcomer David Goffin and fun Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will meet and play with fans, before ensuring sizzling scenes on center court every day.

Returning to the UAE’s capital for its ninth year, the Mubadala World Tennis Championship continues to boost interest in the local community and encourages kids to try their hand at the game of tennis.

Ensuring youngsters have all of the inspiration they need, key players Andy Murray and Milos Raonic will be answering questions in a special Kid’s Day Q+A hosted by tennis veteran Pat Cash from 1pm on 29th December.

Later that day fans will be treated to an autograph session with tennis superstars Murray and Raonic taking place at 3:30pm.

Also set to add to the eventful Kid’s Day atmosphere with his entertaining personality and impressive trick shots is Al Ain midfielder and AFC Asian Footballer of The Year, Omar Abdulrahman.

Lucky bystanders could get the opportunity to see both football and tennis champions in action, after Abdulrahman challenged reigning MWTC champion Rafael Nadal to a game earlier this week.  

If that wasn’t enough, Judy Murray, mother and former tennis coach of World No. 1 Andy, will be running a parent and child tennis clinic on the 29th December too.

Being the mother of both the men’s singles and doubles World No.1s (Andy and Jamie), she will be offering tips to young children and their parents from 3-4pm on day one within the village.

Building on the buzz of the Tennis Village, fans can expect exciting installations from key tournament sponsors, including The Galleria on Al Maryah Island and Mercedes Benz who will boost the interactivity with their engaging pop-up displays.

Giving the Mubadala Tennis Village a fashionable spin, The Galleria on Al Maryah Island will host a DIY craft activity on Kid’s Day, while Mercedes-Benz will offer owners exclusive on-site parking via a dedicated VIP car park and on-site displays.

Children celebrating Kids Day last year

Children celebrating Kids Day last year

Fans are sure to keep their appetites satiated with fabulous food trucks that will provide a variation of cuisines to try throughout the three-day tournament featuring culinary treats from La Plucker, So Cal, Baozi, Burger Itch, The Shebi, Snog and Ice Cream Lounge.

Jumbo screens located around the village will ensure not a moment of excitement will be missed during mealtimes.

Ensuring that tennis goers not only feel but also look the part, the village will host the new MWTC merchandise range available to purchase on site.

Featuring cheeky slogans such as “Yalla Tennis”, the tennis polo shirts, t-shirts and caps for men, women and children can be accessed from the official merchandise stand from 12pm-9pm daily.  

The three-day tournament boasts a thrilling line up of elite talent and an exciting balance of off court enjoyment, which appeals to entertainment fans of all ages.

With the Grand Final taking place at 3pm on Day Three, tennis fans can experience the best of both worlds thanks to Flash Entertainment.

Each day, one lucky tennis fan will be picked at random* to win a pair of golden circle tickets to see Coldplay on New Year’s Eve after the Mubadala World Tennis Championship Final.

These winners will also be entered into a draw to meet and greet the band in Abu Dhabi too, for a New Year’s Eve in ‘Paradise’.

Tickets to the 2016 Mubadala World Tennis Championship start from AED 50. Exclusive premier hospitality packages are also available including food and limited beverages, star player meet and greets and courtside seating starting from AED 1,400. Tickets are available from www.ticketmaster.ae and Virgin Megastores.

#AbuDhabiGP race ticket holders redeeming their Y1 Access benefits receive a 20% discount on Category 2 tickets.

Y1 Access is the money-off advantage programme for 2016 #AbuDhabiGP race ticket holders and is offered for selected FLASH events until February 2017. For further information please visit www.yasalam.ae  

For more information about the 2016 Mubadala Tennis World Championship, visit: www.mubadalawtc.com and www.facebook.com/mubadalaworldtennischampionship

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Cash: Nadal needs to rebuild game

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Can the Spaniard get back to his best?

Rafael Nadal will make his first appearance since October this Thursday in Abu Dhabi at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship and tournament ambassador Pat Cash believes it could be the last time the UAE crowd gets a chance to watch the Spaniard live in action.

Nadal, the defending MWTC champion, ended his 2016 season early due to lingering wrist problems and will commence 2017 ranked No9 in the world.

His unofficial season kick-off comes this weekend at Zayed Sports City where he opens his campaign against Tomas Berdych on Thursday evening.

The 30-year-old Mallorcan joins Berdych, Andy Murray, Milos Raonic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and tournament debutant David Goffin in the three-day tennis extravaganza in Abu Dhabi and Cash feels half the field could be bidding farewell to the sport soon.

“I think people need to get out there and see some of these players out here this tournament because it may be the last time they get to see Berdych, Tsonga and Nadal play,” Cash, the 1987 Wimbledon champion, told Sport360.

“Murray will be around for a couple of years, but certainly the change in the guard is about to happen, and Murray is probably the last one of the original guard that is there with something to prove.

“It’s coming and these young guys will win a bunch of tournaments for sure. They won’t be in the same class as this group that’s on its way out, but it doesn’t matter, they’re going to be there.”

Following in the footsteps of his fellow ‘Big Four’ members, Nadal has added a former world No1 to his coaching team, his good friend and compatriot Carlos Moya, to work alongside his uncle Toni Nadal, and Francis Roig.

Murray has enjoyed tremendous success with the legendary Ivan Lendl, Novak Djokovic spent three years dominating under the tutelage of Boris Becker, while Roger Federer had two great seasons with Stefan Edberg before they parted ways last year.

Moya was part of Raonic’s coaching team in 2016 and played a big role in the Canadian’s rise from No14 at the start of the season to his current position at No3, thanks to a strong year that saw him reach the Wimbledon final.

Many see Nadal and Moya as a perfect fit but Cash believes the 14-time major champion’s problems are beyond simply hiring a new coach and fellow Mallorcan.

“For Rafa it’s about rebuilding his confidence. Last year we saw him just losing his confidence under pressure.

He said it a couple of years ago and it was more obvious this year. At some stage when we get older you just lose your concentration, you lose the ability to handle the stress all the time, day-in, day-out, and Rafa is showing signs of that,” said Cash.

“Carlos is a sharp guy. I just tend to think that some of Rafa’s issues are technical and I’m not sure they’ve picked that up.

“Spaniards typically tend to be quite traditional in tennis coaching, a bit like their tennis academies, hit lots of balls, get lots of confidence, that sort of thing. I’m not sure Carlos is down that path, but still I think Rafa really needs take a good look at himself under the computer and get a specialist to see where he can improve his serve.

“In my opinion he needs to technically fix a couple of things in his game, he needs to get some free points, he needs to get consistency with his depth on his forehand and backhand and he just hasn’t had it the last couple of years – he’s never really had it.

“When he’s in good form his depth is unbelievably good and when he’s not in good form it’s really poor and the guys are taking advantage of that now.

“The problem is the last couple of years he’s never really got his confidence back on that depth. That’s his number one thing. He needs to be able to push his opponents back and then finish the point off. You can’t push them back if the ball is just dropping in the middle of the court. So that’s the number one thing for me. And his serve, he needs to fix that up a little bit.”

Having parted ways with Moya, Raonic has brought in 1996 Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek to his team, to work alongside Riccardo Piatti. Despite dealing with some injuries, Raonic had a breakthrough 2016 that saw him attack the net more and more.

“Five per cent or 10 per cent better and he might walk away with a grand slam this year,” Cash said of Raonic.

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Head to Abu Dhabi to see the world's finest at MWTC

Denzil Pinto 23/12/2016
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Murray heads to Abu Dhabi as world No1 after a truly memorable 2016.

World number one Andy Murray and 14-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal are just two of the big names competing at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi this week, but besides the matches there’s a variety of activities that fans can look forward to.

Running from December 29-31 at the International Tennis Centre, Zayed Sports City, the tournament will also see the likes of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, world No10 Tomas Berdych, No11 David Goffin and No3 and last season’s runner-up Milos Raonic in action. Now in its ninth edition, the competition has been a big hit and there’s still time to purchase tickets.

On the opening day, debutant Goffin meets Tsonga with the winner facing Wimbledon and Olympic champion Murray in the semi-finals on Friday. In the other half of the draw, defending champion and three-time winner Nadal opens his campaign against Berdych with Raonic waiting in the last four.

While six of the world’s top 11 players do battle, there’s plenty of free off-court entertainment to keep spectators busy.

In the Tennis Village, (open from 12:00 to 17:00) there will be an opportunity to meet the stars themselves as well as coaching clinics. On the first day, Judy Murray will also be hosting a mother and child clinic from 15:00 to 16:00 as part of Kids Day.

Tickets for the matches start from Dh50 and Vickie Gunnarsson, tournament director, insists it will be a memorable occasion.

Rafa Nadal is a three-time winner in Abu Dhabi and the reigning champion.

Rafa Nadal is a three-time winner in Abu Dhabi and the reigning champion.

“Ticket sales have been really encouraging for the ninth edition of the Mubadala Tennis World Championship,” she said. “With Rafael Nadal, an Abu Dhabi crowd favourite, playing for the first time on the first day and with the potential to play all three days, tickets are selling well.

“There is still availability, including seats at the New Year’s Eve final, but I would advise buying now to avoid disappointment.

“The success of Mubadala is clear to see and continually attracts an all-star line-up. Beyond that, it gives young tennis talent in the region a chance to compete in the Mubadala Community Cup.

“We also hold tennis clinics and the Tennis Village is a fun-fuelled entertainment area for all the family. Players undertake tennis coaching clinics and signing sessions, which allow young local talent to meet and learn from their idols, unlike any other tournament. Every day is as exciting at the next, and that’s not just the on court action. The Tennis Village offers fans the chance to get up close to the stars like no other event does.

“Just looking at the calibre of players we have this year, why wouldn’t you attend?”

WHAT: Mubadala World Tennis Championship
WHERE: International Tennis Centre, Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi
WHEN: December 29-31, matches start at 17:00. Final at 15:00. Tennis Village open from 12:00
CONTACT: For more information, visit www.mubadalawtc.com

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