Mubadala tennis in Abu Dhabi gives Khachanov ideal preparation for Australian Open, says Pat Cash
Karen Khachanov hit the headlines in November when he stunned world number one Novak Djokovic in the Paris Masters final with an emphatic straight-set win
Dubai - The highlight of the opening day of the Mubadala event will be the women's singles match between legendary Williams sisters - Serena and Venus
Pat Cash, Mubadala World Tennis Championship ambassador, backs Russia's rising star Karen Khachanov to make a deep run at the Australian Open next month.
The 22-year-old Khachanov, who grew up admiring the talent of Russian maverick Marat Safin, will be locking horns with world number eight and French Open runner-up Dominic Thiem on the opening day of the Mubadala championship (December 27-December 29) in Abu Dhabi.
Khachanov hit the headlines in November when he stunned world number one Novak Djokovic in the Paris Masters final with an emphatic straight-set win.
And former Wimbledon champion Cash believes Khachanov will use the Mubadala event to find his rhythm ahead of the Australian Open.
Cash also revealed what separates Khachanov (world number 11) from players like Thiem and the 22-year-old South Korean star Hyeon Chung (world number 25) who is also in the Abu Dhabi line-up. "Thiem and Chung have incredible speed and perhaps Khachanov has little more power than them in general," said Cash.
But the 1987 Wimbledon champion admitted that it will be tough for the likes of Thiem, Chung and Khachanov to win the star-studded Abu Dhabi tournament where the fans will also see Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Kevin Anderson vie for glory.
"It will be hard for them to win but Khachanov has had some very good form recently and I would expect him to break through this year. Perhaps it will be Melbourne, so the MWTC is an important event for him," he added.
But the highlight of the opening day of the Mubadala event will be the women's singles match between legendary Williams sisters - Serena and Venus.
"Well, it's always exciting to see some of the all-time greats play. And they are still in amazing form. This includes the Williams sisters of course. This year the tournament has a particularly interesting blend of legends and young guns," he said.