MWTC Diary: Lopez is the odd man out, Nadal impressed by Abu Dhabi

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  • Feliciano Lopez and his fiancee Alba Carrillo visited Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque on Saturday.

    It's quite rare to have any free time to go sightseeing here in Abu Dhabi with their schedule typically crammed with on-court and off-court commitments.

    – Andy Murray off to a flier as he claims second MWTC title

    But Feliciano Lopez made use of his off day on Saturday, after losing to Nicolas Almagro on Friday, and paid a visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque with his fiancée Alba Carrillo.

    The dreamy Spaniard was dressed in Emirati national dress while model Carrillo donned a black abaya. Like Andy Murray, who has signed with American brand Under Armour, Lopez also has a new clothing sponsor in 2015, Ellesse.

    Looking at the photo below, we suggest Lopez should stick to his new kit.

    We asked Rafael Nadal if he ever had the chance to visit any places in Abu Dhabi and the Mallorcan said he never had the time to do much on any of his six trips to the capital, but that he has been impressed with the development of the emirate in general.

    “There’s not much time to see things but walking around I was impressed and happy to see that the city every time has better life, better atmosphere, more people walking in the streets, so it’s more a city and that’s great,” he said.

    Nadal took part in various community activities for the tournament over the past three days including several kids’ clinics.

    Asked if he can feel greater participation from the UA E youth this year in comparison to the first time he came here six years ago, the world No3 gave an interesting and honest response.

    “It’s very difficult to understand that, or to know that because I’ve been here only for two days,” Nadal said. 

    “I can lie and I can say ‘yes, everything is fantastic’ but I try not to lie… much.

    “Only if necessary,” he joked, sending the press room into laughter.

    “Seriously, being only for two days here, it’s impossible to know exactly how the things are here, how the federation is working or how many kids are doing the right practice.”

    He does have a point.

    The Mubadala World Tennis Championship does its fair share of promoting the sport amongst UAE residents, but until the federation implements real grassroots initiatives, with proper coaching, tennis will not prosper in the country.