WTA stars learn Arabic! We put Dubai Duty Free Tennis players’ language skills to the test

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Following on from Ana Ivanovic’s impressive multilingual Arabic language skills, WTA Tour stars Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova, Garbine Muguruza and Carla Suarez Navarro completed Sport360.com’s Arabic test to see how well they could pronounce well-known phrases.

Watch our video to see how they got on and make up your own mind over who you thought was the best!

And in case you missed it, here’s a recap of Ivanovic’s Arabic chat with Sport360 during the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships:












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Mladenovic diary: Lessons can be learned from defeat

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Mladenovic and partner Garcia were beaten by Chuang and Jurak in the doubles final.

Defeat is something you constantly have to learn to deal with in tennis.

Except for those champions like Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic who have a few losses that they can count on one hand or two, for all the other players it’s very rare to finish a week unbeatable, meaning that you won the tournament.

It’s never easy to get over a loss, I’m of course always disappointed because I’m a big competitor and I want to win but then you try to be humble and calm and take everything as a great lesson. Think about what worked, what didn’t work…

My coaches always told me that my biggest quality is that I’m a very hard worker. Even after the toughest loss I always go on court the next day, from the first hour and go and practice. Sometimes, that feeling happen to me straight after a match so I go and practice.

I have some friends on tour, players that are so down the next day after a loss that they’re just lazy and they don’t want to do anything. I’m a big hard worker and I’ve always believed that in order to achieve something, hard work always pays off.

I just try to take it as a great lesson, that’s always what we say. Sometimes you can learn even more from a loss than a win. And you can really feel, if you’re concentrated and focused on that, it can help when you come back in a similar situation and position to remember ‘okay, I did that, at the time it was wrong’.

You just need to move on, and try to work and keep believing and working, it’s never easy but on the other hand what I’ve always been told is that I’m quite mature in that – at the end of the day, I’m the happiest because I can play and compete and be there and have a second chance the next week.

I was so badly injured when I was younger that I still have in my mind that time when I was forced not to play and I wished I could go out there every week, even if I lost, at least I could still compete.

So of course I’m disappointed that I lost because everybody wants to win but at the end of the day I feel there are things that are much worse in life than losing a match.

I’m doing my job that I love and in tennis every week you have a new opportunity to prove, to improve, to enjoy. I feel like it’s just a tennis match and I’m living off my passion, it’s my job. That’s not going to affect how I’m going to sleep at night.

Of course I’m a professional competitor and there are some nights where it’s more difficult to accept and tougher to sleep because you’re thinking about the match, what changed the momentum, what were the turning points… but there are much more important things in life outside tennis and at the end of the day it’s a job like any other job. It’s true it’s difficult mentally because it’s a sport and there are wins and there are losses but at the end of the day it’s a job and you say it was a bad day at the office.

The rain on Wednesday made things very difficult for us in terms of the schedule.

Can you imagine I got off the court after 1:00am? I have to be honest and say that none of us on tour practice or hit at midnight or 1:00am. And that day we had only me and Coco, and Kvitova and Brengle – who finished before us – when I finished, when I went off court, it was like 1:15am. This is ridiculous.

That’s why this sport is crazy because we would never practice at that time, our bodies aren’t used to this. That’s why I admire us, that we managed to be so competitive and put such a quality game out there.

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ATP stars react to the DDF Tennis draw

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Martin Klizan will take on Nick Kyrgios for the first time in his career.

Former semi-finalist Philipp Kohlschreiber believes the players of the younger generation have an opportunity to thrive in a few years when the ‘Big Four’ dominance comes to an end, the German said on Saturday at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships draw ceremony.

Kohlschreiber, 32, has been bouncing in and out of the top-30 for much of the past decade, peaking at No16 in 2012.

And as a contemporary of tennis’ super quartet – Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray – Kohlschreiber has been competing in an era where opportunities to win big titles for the rest of the field are always slim.

But with Federer already 34 years old, Nadal turning 30, and Murray and Djokovic both turning 29, the ‘Big Four’ era is entering its final years and Kohlschreiber does not see a young group of players that look primed to take their place and carry the baton.


Which is why he feels someone like his 18-year-old compatriot, Alexander Zverev, who is being touted as a future star, has a chance to shine.








“I think Alexander Zverev comes on a great time on the tennis court,” said the eighth-seeded Kohlschreiber, who was drawn to face Turkish wildcard Marsel Ilhan in the Dubai first round.



“We have to say that the top four guys they are also getting older. Novak, Roger, and maybe Murray are still dominating tennis but in a few years there will be nobody that strong – at the moment which I see – not that strong like these guys. So everybody else, younger than 24, will have a very good perspective of not having such really strong players from No1 to No4.


“Rafa is struggling a little bit right now but he also he was really successful on clay so every time you faced him you knew the chance to go out of the tournament is very high. And this is changing I think in tennis so there are more chances for lower-ranked players to achieve maybe better results because there won’t be those four superheroes, let’s say.”


For now though, the superheroes are still out in force, including Djokovic who is the top seed in Dubai and is seeking a fifth title at the Aviation Club.


Djokovic has a slew of Spaniards in his path in Dubai as he opens against veteran Tommy Robredo then could potentially face off with No6 seed Feliciano Lopez in the quarters and No4 seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the semis.




Two-time grand slam champion Stan Wawrinka, in Dubai for the first time since 2008, will face Sergiy Stakhovsky in an opening round for the second time in as many weeks as he had just beaten the Ukrainian in a third-set tiebreak in Marseille three days ago.


No7 seed Martin Klizan, making his Dubai debut, is coming off an impressive run of results, having won eight of his last nine matches that included a semi-final showing in Sofia and a title victory in Rotterdam earlier this month.


Klizan has a daunting first round against an in-form Nick Kyrgios, who will also be playing Dubai for the first time.


“Of course I’m confident. My game is making progress in the last couple of weeks. I had very tough first three weeks in January but I started to play very solid in Sofia. So I’m quite confident here and let’s see what’s going to happen,” the 27th-ranked Klizan told Sport360.



“Nick is a great player. He showed many times that he has big qualities to be a great player. We’ve never played against each other, so it’s going to be our first meeting but I’m sure it’s going to be a very good match for both and for the crowd as well and I’m looking forward to play.”


Viktor Troicki, the No5 seed, joked when he was reminded that he is Serbia’s No2 behind Djokovic.


“That’s always been the case, I’m not even No1 in my own city,” laughed the world No21, who has an impressive 12-4 record this season, including a title win in Sydney.


Troicki has Marcos Baghdatis in the first round and is in Djokovic’s half of the draw.


No3 seed Tomas Berdych, a former Dubai runner-up, opens against Portugal’s Joao Sousa and is a potential semi-final opponent for Wawrinka.




First rounds to watch:


Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) v Tommy Robredo (ESP)


Feliciano Lopez (ESP x6) v Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP)


Chung Hyeon (KOR) v Andreas Seppi (ITA)


Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) v Viktor Troicki (SRB x5)


Martin Klizan (SVK x7) v Nick Kyrgios (AUS)


Borna Coric (CRO) v Jiri Vesely (CZE)


Stan Wawrinka (SUI x2) v Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR)



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