From left: Dan Evans, Taylor Fritz, Belinda Bencic, Denis Shapovalov, Andy Murray and Andrey Rublev pose for a picture at The Galleria Al Maryah Island on Wednesday.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
The star-studded line-up for this week’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship took time out from their respective preparations to go head-to-head in a fun, competitive shootout challenge at SkyPark at The Galleria Al Maryah Island on Wednesday.
Two-time MWTC champion Andy Murray, World No.5 Andrey Rublev, World No.14 Denis Shapovalov, US No.1 Taylor Fritz, British star Dan Evans, and Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Belinda Bencic faced off in a competition that tested their tennis knowledge and shot accuracy.
Each player was given 60 seconds to answer a series of questions on tennis, before tasked with firing balls through various holes ranging from 4-10 inches in circumference.
With each hole offering different points to players, and the smallest holes only slightly wider than a regular tennis ball, Evans emerged victorious from the tense and hilarious encounter by amassing 25 points.
Meanwhile, Ons Jabeur, the highest-ranked Arab player ever, joined the star-studded line-up in last-minute to replace US Open champion Emma Raducanu, who was forced to withdraw after testing positive for COVID-19.
Jabeur will face Tokyo Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic in the one-off women's match on Thursday evening, following the men's quarter-final matches where Fritz faces Shapovalov, and Evans locks horns with Murray.
Jabeur, Africa's No.1, has enjoyed a strong season, reaching the quarter-finals at Wimbledon and winning her maiden WTA title by defeating Daria Kasatkina at the Birmingham Classic, making history as the first Arab to win a WTA Tour event.
“I am proud and honoured to be the first Arab woman to play the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. 2021 has been a terrific year for me and I know that the Championship is the best start to an exciting 2022 season,” said Jabeur.
Murray, who has split with long-term coach Jamie Delgado ahead of the 2022 season, said that his future as a professional tennis player will be decided next season, adding that he would leave ‘no stone unturned’ in his quest to return to the top of the sport.
“I’m really happy with this,” said Raducanu in her acceptance speech. “I’ve watched Sports Personality of the Year growing up and it’s an honour to be among those past winners.
Junior Wimbledon champion Daria Snigur is hoping for an encore in Dubai as she lined up Kristina Kucova in the singles final of the 24th Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge, on Saturday.
Japan's Naomi Osaka withdrew from her WTA Western & Southern Open semi-final match Thursday in New York to protest the police shooting of an unarmed black man in Wisconsin.
Dr Amina Al Marzouqi, Vice Chancellor for Student and Branch Affairs, stressed the importance of organising this marathon to promote healthy habits and encourage university students to practice regular sports.
The first ever Auction based Windmills ICAP Cricket League, held on 24rth and 25th of Feb, concluded with a thrilling victory for CountingINC, overpowering Raylaz in the final match.
Welcoming all 194 teams to this year's finals, Sheikh Hamdan praised the expansion and diversity achieved by the Gov Games, which includes the return of 28 international teams participating in the Battle of the Cities.
The former Real Madrid star will also have to pay a fine of 20,000 Saudi Riyals to Al Shabab, to cover the costs of the club filing the complaint, and half of that amount to the federation. The decision cannot be appealed.