Your guide to the 2018 Mubadala World Tennis Championship

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The world’s most promising tennis stars will battle it out with the big guns in Abu Dhabi this month…

Since its launch in 2009, the capital’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship has become a calendar highlight for UAE tennis fans.

Held at the International Tennis Centre in Zayed Sports City, the Mubadala World Tennis Championship offers its spectators the equivalent of a Grand Slam quarter-final. Due to its placement at the onset of the calendar year, the tournament is widely recognised as a warm-up for the year’s ATP hopefuls before the official start of the Grand Slam season at the Australian Open on January 14, 2019.

ALSO READ: Win! Tickets to the Mubadala World Tennis Championship

South African Kevin Anderson beat Bautista Agut to win the tournament last year, and he returns to the capital hoping to retain the title. He’s got stiff competition, though. Tennis heavyweights Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are both taking part in the tournament, keen to make up for last year’s last-minute withdrawals from injury.

New kids on the block Dominic Thiem, Karen Khachanov and Hyeon Chung make up the remaining six-man line-up, while legendary player Venus Williams makes her Abu Dhabi debut against her sister, Serena Williams.

An impressive line-up for a so-called exhibition tournament, but with Dhs1 million in prize money up for grabs, it’s not a competition the sport’s biggest names will be taking lightly.

THE LINE-UP

Dominic Thiem

Nationality: Austria
Age: 25
Singles ranking: 8
Pro status: 2011
Plays: Right-handed, one-handed backhand
Good to know: Early in 2016, Thiem won titles on a clay and hard court, then punched through to the semi-finals at the French Open. He rose from No.20 to No.9 at year’s end.

Rafael Nadal

Nationality: Spain
Age: 32
Singles ranking: 2
Pro status: 2001
Plays: Left-handed, two-handed backhand
Good to know: Nadal shares the record for the most titles won at a single Grand Slam event. He’s finished as world No.1 for four years (2008, 2010, 2013, and 2017).

Kevin Anderson

Nationality: South Africa
Age: 32
Singles ranking: 6
Pro status: 2007
Plays: Right-handed, two-handed backhand
Good to know: Anderson is the tournament’s reigning champion and the highest-ranking player in South African history.

Karen Khachanov

Nationality: Russia
Age: 22
Singles ranking: 11
Pro status: 2013
Plays: Right-handed, two-handed backhand
Good to know: Khachanov’s impressive win against Djokovic at the Paris Masters final last month established the Russian as the ‘Next Big Thing’.

Hyeon Chung

Nationality: South Korea
Age: 22
Singles ranking: 25
Pro status: 2014
Plays: Right-handed, two-handed backhand
Good to know: Chung stunned everyone when he broke through to the Australian Open semi-finals this year, beating Alexander Zverev and Novak Djokovic along the way.

Novak Djokovic

Nationality: Serbia
Age: 31
Singles ranking: 1
Pro status: 2003
Plays: Right-handed, two-handed backhand
Good to know: Djokovic has been on a hot streak this year, winning Wimbledon in July and the US Open. The 31-year-old Serbian has three previous wins in Abu Dhabi, where he has played five times.

Venus Williams

Nationality: USA
Age: 38
Singles ranking: 40
Pro status: 1994
Plays: Right-handed
Good to know: Williams has 49 career titles to her name. The six-foot-one American finished inside the top 10 a total of 13 times in her career, boasting an impressive 266-72 win-loss singles record in Grand Slams.

Serena Williams

Nationality: USA
Age: 37
Singles ranking: 16
Pro status: 1995
Plays: Right-handed
Good to know: The younger Williams has won 72 career titles, including 23 Grand Slam singles titles. Abu Dhabi was where Williams made her competitive return last year, following the birth of her daughter in September.

International Tennis Centre, Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi, Dhs100 to Dhs1795. Tel: (800) 86823. mubadalawtc.com

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