Stage set in Abu Dhabi as UAE fans enjoy official draw

Stage set in Abu Dhabi as UAE fans enjoy official draw

Abu Dhabi - Ferrer and Tsonga to open the action on New Year's Eve before Abu Dhabi debutants, Kevin Anderson and Milos Raonic, go head to head.

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By Web Report

Published: Wed 23 Dec 2015, 4:15 PM

Last updated: Wed 23 Dec 2015, 6:18 PM

The official draw for the most competitive Mubadala World Tennis Championship yet was made today at Yas Mall with the help of tennis enthusiasts as well as tournament ambassador and former Grand Slam champion, Pat Cash. The public draw set up a high-octane opening with all players at the top of their game for the annual tournament which will start on December 31st. Setting the tone of raw excitement from the start will be a stunning showdown between the pacey world number seven, David Ferrer, and Abu Dhabi crowd thriller, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Meanwhile, two tournament newcomers will play the second match of day one, with either Kevin Anderson, the hard-hitting South African who stands tall at a massive 6'8", or Milos Raonic, himself one of the most powerful and precise servers in the game, going through to play on day two.

Today's draw also sets up a potentially thrilling final with Stan Wawrinka, double Grand Slam champion, and the legendary Rafael Nadal, both getting a bye into the second day of the championship.  

Australian tennis legend and former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash was on hand to make the draw with help from the public today in Abu Dhabi, as well as hosting a masterclass with youngsters from this year's Mubadala Tennis in Schools programme. He commented:

"The Mubadala World Tennis Championship always serves up some amazing action and memorable tennis for the Middle East. This competition has become renowned for its star studded line up and hard hitting tennis as a perfect campaign-opener for any player going into the New Year. Every player likes to get their year underway with a good, solid performance and hopefully a win, so to do it here in Abu Dhabi against the best really helps build confidence for the year ahead. Players love coming and competing here in the UAE and although we see fierce competition on the court, there is a relaxed environment off of it and players have the chance to spend time meeting fans and coaching youngsters. Overall it is a great experience for all, and a fantastic display of the sport we love at its best."

Opening the eighth annual Mubadala World Tennis Championship will be Tsonga v. Ferrer. After an injury prone start to the year, Tsonga has turned his season around and found excellent form over recent months to win his third Metz title at the Moselle Open and reach the finals of the Shanghai Masters. Tsonga will be looking to claim a win over world number seven, David Ferrer, who recently secured a milestone 25th ATP World Tour title at the Malaysian Open and who also beat the Frenchman at their last meeting in the semi-finals at Roland Garros. Should Tsonga prove successful, however, he'll go through to play Nadal on day two who he knocked out of the Shanghai Masters earlier this year in the semi-finals. But with Ferrer leading the head-to-head 3-1 against Tsonga and himself a regular feature in the finals in Abu Dhabi, that could be a tough ask.

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