ABU DHABI, January 1, 2016
Following centre court action on the opening day in Abu Dhabi, the Mubadala World Tennis Championship ushered in the New Year in true sporting style on Friday.
14-time Grand Slam champion and firm fan favourite Rafael Nadal made his first appearance of the year in Abu Dhabi when he helped young winners of the Mubadala Community Cup powered by Healthpoint get their 2016 off to a flying start with a tennis clinic for the under 10 and under 12 category victors. After the on-court-action, the kids also had the opportunity to ask some questions and proved to be well informed about Nadal’s career. So they talked about a junior’s match between the Spaniard and Richard Gasquet when they were 13 years old. He also told about his new academy, where he wants to support the kids to improve their game, as well as his home place Mallorca, “a beautiful island,” he said. Nadal was very relaxed and seemed to enjoy spending the time on court with the youngsters.
Watch Rafa’s Kid’s Clinic:
Victor Paganetti, 12 years old said: “It was an incredible experience playing with Rafa and I came over from France especially to be here for this. He is my favourite tennis player and I have met him before but to actually play with him was so much better. I hope to become a professional tennis player one day so this was a great experience for me.”
Canada’s Milos Raonic, who joins the stellar player line-up for the first time, was also in action on the clinic courts, hosting winners from the adult category where they picked up some expert tips before going on to battle it out in a Mubadala Community Cup inter-emirate play-off.
Meanwhile in Tennis Village, which is free and open to non-ticket holders as well, fans had the chance to meet David Ferrer and Stan Wawrinka when they signed autographs for expectant visitors of all ages.