Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship has firmly established itself as a welcome starting point for the season.
Since January 2009’s opening event at Abu Dhabi International Tennis Complex, a host of superstars. – including Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and Roger Federer – have competed for successes. Unsurprisingly, a series of epic showdowns have taken place in the 14 men’s editions and five women’s editions.
Here are three of the best:
2011 Mubadala World Tennis Championship (January)
Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer 7–6(7–4), 7–6(7–3)
Abu Dhabi got a taste of the greatest rivalry the men’s game has ever witnessed.
Nadal and Federer entered 2011 as the top two in the world, while both had been sweeping up Grand Slams for fun. The final which followed between them in the UAE capital lives long in the memory.
Both epic sets went to tie-breaks. Both were settled by the narrow margins of 7-4, 7-3.
It would be Nadal who’d prevail, starting a season highlighted by a sixth French Open success.
2021 Mubadala World Tennis Championship
Andrey Rublev beat Andy Murray 6–4, 7–6(7–2)
A fairytale victory was denied two years ago, in Abu Dhabi.
2009 and 2015 champion Andy Murray came into December 2021’s event on the back of serious injuries and major surgeries. His chronic hip problem was expected to put paid to any illusions of victory for 2022.
But this doomsday scenario was, almost, averted.
Murray defeated fellow Brit Dan Evans 6-3, 6-2 in the quarter-finals and downed old-rival Nadal 6-3, 7-5 in the last-four. Andrey Rublev awaited in the final.
Russia’s defending champion proved too strong, prevailing within two sets. But the fight showcased by Murray will not be forgotten.
2018 Mubadala World Tennis Championship
Venus Williams beat Serena Williams 4–6, 6–3, [10–8]
It was the exhibition line-up everyone at Abu Dhabi International Tennis Complex wanted.
The iconic Williams sisters went into battle in the one-off clash, with the elder Venus showing the younger Serena she still had it.
They, first, exchanged sets in front of a joyous crowd, pushing the contest into a super tie-break.
Venus would emerge victorious from that engrossing stanza against her 23-time Grand Slam-winning sibling, prevailing 10-8.