Day One of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship kicked-off today with an explosion of colour, sound and entertainment in Abu Dhabi.
On this first day of 2015 tennis fans flocked to the impressive Zayed Sports City in their hundreds to catch a glimpse of their heroes training including Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray.
There was a relaxed mood in the Mubadala Tennis Village, which houses a host of activities to keep fans of all ages stimulated during the day before Murray played Feliciano Lopez in the first of two matches. Stanislas Wawrinka was drawn against Nicolas Almagro in the evening’s later fixture.
After watching Rafael Nadal practising with his coach at full pace in the midday UAE heat earlier in the day, it was clear that despite the smiles and calm atmostsphere, the players are here to win and want to start their 2015’s with a trophy.
After being asked in a press conference if Nadal would be scaling-down the amount of tournaments he plays in the season due to persisent injuries, the 14-time Slam champion was almost offended.
“I plan on playing every available tournament I possibly can as regular, competitive matches against top-class opposition like today is the only way I can find my best form,” the Spaniard said.
On the subject of playing in the UAE he was equally forthright in his answer , “I am here. It is always good to be here and I always come back as it is a great way to get the season underway with great fans and great opponents.”
A nice touch from Andy Murray saw local tennis prodigy Kareem Allaf chosen to warm-up with the two-time Slam champion.
The teenager looked justifably nervous before the knock-about but soon found his rythem and will hope to one-day, give UAE fans a local champion to cheer at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships.