The new tennis season is just around the corner but you can start early at the Emirates Palace.
Abu Dhabi’s iconic Emirates Palace is offering coaching courses run by Croatian tennis guru Pjer Dulava for anyone at any level of experience. The only thing that is required is love for the game of tennis.
The programme at the luxury hotel has offers to suit just about everyone. There are group clinics for those who want to learn with friends and social tennis for those simply looking to get the blood pumping and have a laugh.
For the more serious competitors, there are elite training sessions that will help hone every aspect of the game.
And due to the bespoke coaching offer by Dulava, you can tailor the sessions to work on specific areas of your game.
There are four floodlit courts, all of which are run by the Croat and all of which will be working to a programme formatted for your objectives. Dulava has spent nearly his entire adult life as a coach and he has a few philosophies he likes to stick to.
“My main principles for coaching of players is very basic,” Dulava told Sport360°. “The most important things are fun, fitness and knowledge. So every lesson I always include all of these things into every single drill because they are essential for people to do and learn if they are to play the game for a long time.
“I include each exact exercise that improves skills, knowledge and fitness all in a fun way.
“The exercises have a lot of movement in them so you are never standing still and never stuck in one place.
“I didn’t play internationally as a player, only in Croatia. I always wanted to be an ATP professional tennis player but when I realised I wasn’t good enough, I became a tennis coach and I have since found out that I have very good talents in coaching tennis and that I have a lot to offer.”
After years teaching in the USA, Dulava’s skills are much in demand. Places are scarce at the Emirates Palace such is the desire to work with the Croat.
Private lessons are available at almost all hours of the day with sessions starting as early as 07:00 and finishing as late as 22:00, with bookings needed to be made at least an hour in advance.
The Emirates Palace however doesn’t provide the attire and apparel for its learners. So guests must bring their own equipment, stressing that shirts must be worn at all times regardless of the heat and that swimsuits are strictly forbidden. Apart from that, the court is yours.
All lessons are 45 minutes and private sessions with Dulava are Dh200. Group lessons can cost as little as Dh100 and go up to Dh250 depending on the privacy requirement and type of booking.
It’s the perfect time of the year to sweat it out, preferably while playing a sport you like. And this is a brilliant opportunity for you to take up the game or simply have some fun.
What: Pjers Dulava’s coaching clinic
Where: The Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi
When: Courts open daily from 07:00 to 22:00
Information: To book a spot, call the Emirates Palace at 02 690 7311
Racym Rahim and Meesthi Shethia caused big upsets in the final tournament weekend of the year in the Clark Francis Tennis Swiss Adidas Junior Masters Series with both players taking out the top seeds in their respective events.
Over 80 players took part in the 14&Under and 10&Under Green Series tournaments before the season entered its break for the holidays.
Rahim delivered the first surprise of the day, in the boys’ 14 & Under, when he beat top seed Ralph Racheed in the first round and then went on all the way to the final, where he was stopped by Miguel Nau 6-1. The win vaulted Nau back to No2 in the rankings.
On the girls’ side, Shethia shocked top-seeded Angel McLeod in the semi-finals but her run came to an end at the hands of the in-form Bea Acena who beat her opponent 6-2 to win her third consecutive tournament and move up to No2 in the series standings.
It was business as usual in the Green Series 10&Under boys’ draw with Hercules Gerousis continuing his dominance in the category. He beat Arden D’Aniello in a tight final 3-3 7/4 to strengthen his grasp on the rankings.
There were some shake ups in the girls’ draw with Coumba Ben beating Deepshika Sriram in a very close semi-final, while Renee Acena beat Stefania Bojica in another exciting match.
Ben went on to beat her fellow Clark Francis Tennis player, Renee, 4-2 in the final. The series will resume after the holidays, on Friday January 10 with the 12&Under, Open Junior and Red Series 8&Under tournaments.
The deadline to sign up is 20:00 Wednesday, January 8. At the end of the season, the top players in each category will enter the finals for a chance to win a trip to Roland Garros.
Open Junior Boys
1. Chris Darnell 2. Matthew Binnie 3. Harrish Das
Open Junior Girls
1. Samara Al Barvi 2. Anaya Singh 3. Simran Nokonha
1. Miro Manuel 2. Miguel Nau 3. Yunus Ibragimov
1. Angel McLeod 2. Bea Acena 3. Lojaine Adel
1. Nazareno Tauber 2. Gio Salibi 3. Hercules Gerousis
1. Bea Acena 2. Lojaine Adel 3. Angel McLeod
10&Under Green Series Boys
1. Hercules Gerousis 2. Arden D’Aniello 3. Cameron Francis
10&Under Green Series Girls
1. Coumba Ben 2. Stefania Bojica 3. Renee Acena
9&Under Orange Series Boys
1. Mohamed Ghetas 2. Anton Zhulkoyskiy 3. Sean McCracken
9&Under Orange Series Girls
1. Angel D’Souza 2. Vibha Ragothaman 3. Aruna Alimentova
8&Under Red Series Boys
1. Come Carpentier 2. Aryan Nanda 3. Michael Konig
8&Under Red Series Girls
1. Varsha Das 2. Aruna Alimentova 3. Riya Matharoo
Seasoned Spaniard Cesar Ferrer won the 2013 Abu Dhabi Country Club Tennis Open on Friday, defeating UAE’s Omar Behrouzian 7-6, 6-3.
Ferrer, the former world No381, won the opening set 7-4 in a tie-breaker, before winning the last three games of the second set after it was tied at 3-3.
Ferrer said: “It was a really tough match and Omar is a very good player. This kind of surface is very good for him because it is so fast – for me it’s difficult because I come from Spain and I am more familiar with playing defensive tennis, playing on a clay court.
“I was fighting all match, especially in the tie-breaker in the first set when it was 3-3 and then I got it to 5-3, and I got confidence from that.
“In the second set, I went 2-0 up but he’s a good player and he plays very fast, he keeps going and going. In the end maybe I was a bit lucky and I guess I am also more experienced than he is.”
Ferrer also beat Behrouzian in the final of the Jumeirah Beach Hotel-Wilson Tennis Open in June 2012, after the Emirati had to retire injured in the first game of the third set, when the match was deadlocked at one set all.
Behrouzian said: “I knew it was going to be a tough match because we played in a tight final before. I felt that I had a few chances in this final, which I didn’t take, especially in the first set. I wasted a few good opportunities, but I think overall he’s a tough guy, he played a solid match.
“The match was good quality and I think in the end he made less mistakes than me and that’s why he won the match.” Behrouzian understood his opponent’s defensive qualities very well.
“He’s very solid,” he added. “He gets ball after ball back into the court all the time and it’s up to you to try to do something and it’s not easy.”
Meanwhile, Czech Nela Platkova won the women’s Open yesterday after her opponent, Serbian Ana Timotic, had to retire with a calf muscle injury.
And the International Tennis Federation’s world No495 at under-18 level Kareem Allaf won the under-16 tournament – the Syrian youngster beat UAE’s Fahad Al Janahi 6-3, 6-1.
“I’m happy with the win,” said Allaf. “It was a good match, first set was competitive, second set was a little easier as I started to play better. I’m glad they’re making more tournaments here, because they were lacking good tournaments before.”