ABU DHABI, 28 December, 2016
World No.1 Andy Murray and sensational Spanish rival Rafael Nadal stopped traffic during a friendly hit on the Al Maryah Island Bridge in Abu Dhabi today as they prepared for the start of the new tennis season.
Warming up ahead of the season-opening tournament taking place at the International Tennis Centre, Zayed Sports City from 29-31 December, the duo regarded as two of the greatest to have ever graced the game soaked up the UAE sunshine, readying themselves for an action packed three days in the nation’s capital.
With one day to go tickets are selling fast for a tournament which is like no other in the region thanks to its incredible player line-up and unrivalled access will once again ‘bridge’ into the new season with an explosive blend of world-class champions and emerging new stars.
This year’s star-stunned line-up includes legendary Scotsman and World No.1 Andy Murray, reigning MWTC champion Rafael Nadal, World No.3 Milos Raonic, Czech powerhouse Tomas Berdych, returning crowd favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and debutant David Goffin of Belgium.
Speaking on his return to Abu Dhabi following a career best season that saw him win his second Wimbledon title and second Olympic gold, World Number 1 Andy Murray said: “It’s always good to be in Abu Dhabi. I’ve been coming here for so many years and it works as a place to start into the season. I know I’m going to get the practice and matches I need. I worked so hard to get to World Number 1 and I’ve been training hard in Miami. But after a few days off at home for Christmas I’m ready to play.”
This year as a special treat Abu Dhabi will welcome three- time MWTC champion Rafael Nadal right from the opening day for the first time in tournament history. Nadal will open up his new season by taking on long-time rival World No.10 Tomas Berdych.
Speaking in to media at Godiva Chocolate Café, The Galleria on Al Maryah Island on the defence of his title Nadal commented: “It’s good to be back. I feel fit, healthy and ready to go. I’ve got some good memories from winning in Abu Dhabi so hopefully I can play well again and get some good match practice.”
Day one will also feature a battle between crowd favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and newcomer David Goffin in which will be the Belgian’s first time playing in the UAE’s capital. Ranked 11th and 12th in the world and off-court allies will ensure this match is dramatic, particularly as Tsonga has claimed victory in three of their past four encounters.
Lying in wait, Andy Murray’s season will start on Friday against the winner of Tsonga or Goffin. While Canadian star Raonic can expect a tough battle as he faces the winner of Nadal or Berdych.
For sport and music fans FLASH Entertainment has three unmissable days of live entertainment in store to thrill the capital. The Mubadala World Tennis Championship guarantees tennis of a quality that can only be seen in the final stages of any grand-slam and promises action for the whole family. To offer the ultimate New Year’s Eve organizers have scheduled the final at 3pm on Saturday, offering plenty of time for the perfect day out ahead of the sold-out Coldplay concert and Abu Dhabi’s fireworks.
Tickets to the 2016 Mubadala World Tennis Championship start from AED 50 for Category 2 seating. Exclusive premier hospitality packages are also available including food and limited beverages, star player meet and greets and courtside seating.