World Tennis League: Greatest show on court comes to Dubai

World class tennis players combine with high-flying DJs to deliver a festive feast at the Coca Cola Arena

by

Leslie Wilson Jr

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Serbia's Novak Djokovic. — AFP file
Serbia's Novak Djokovic. — AFP file

Published: Fri 16 Dec 2022, 11:46 PM

Last updated: Sat 17 Dec 2022, 3:30 PM

An exciting new era in sporting history is set to be written at the iconic Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai with the launch of the inaugural mixed-gender World Tennis League (WTL) on Monday, December 19.

The six-day tournament brings together some of the biggest names in tennis and the entertainment industry for a never-before feast of sports-meets-music entertainment.

The all-new team-event format, which is reminiscent of the now defunct Hopman Cup hopes to grown tennis beyond it’s present realm. Four franchise-owned sides, comprising two men and two women players, will compete against each other in a round-robin format with the best scoring team progressing to the final. Each tie will include a men’s and women’s singles game and a mixed-doubles match.

The fan-friendly competition will be played over two-sets while a 10-point tiebreaker will be called upon to the decide the outcome of the game in the event of a tie.

Among the big names who will spreahead their respective teams is 21-time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic (Falcons), women’s World No 1. Iga Swiatek (The Kites), 2022 Wimbledon finalist Nick Kyrgios (The Eagles) and former World No 2 Alexander Zverev (The Hawks).

WTL Ceo Scott Davidoff (extreme right) with Filippo De Rosa, CEO of HonorFX, sponsors of Teams Falcons  (extreme left) and players, Aryna Sabalen   Paula Badosa,ka Grigor Dimitrov. — Supplied photo
WTL Ceo Scott Davidoff (extreme right) with Filippo De Rosa, CEO of HonorFX, sponsors of Teams Falcons (extreme left) and players, Aryna Sabalen Paula Badosa,ka Grigor Dimitrov. — Supplied photo

Scott Davidoff, CEO of the World Tennis League, said: “The World Tennis League is unlike any other tennis event in the world, as it not only gives spectators the opportunity to see many household names that they might have only ever seen before on television, but also to party into the night with world famous music acts.”

“The blending of great tennis and top music acts is an unbeatable combination which guarantees an experience tennis won’t forget,” added Davidoff.

"Events like these are fantastic because they are a business and a product, but by marketing men's and women's tennis together, you are also attempting to grow tennis and benefit the athletes themselves. The team format, in particular, brings out the personalities of the players.”

“I really like team competitions so I’m super excited about this event,” said Aryna Sabalenka from Belarus, who is a member of team Falcons,.”It’s something that tennis needed. It’s going to be a lot of fun and a lot of high-level tennis.”

Paula Badosa, Sabalenka’s teammate and former World No.2, shared similar sentiments saying: “I love Dubai as a city as well and I’m really looking forward to playing on a strong team alongside Novak and Grigor Dimitrov.

“Events like this help the sport grow more and along with the entertainment is a perfect fit as it attracts a wider audience. Which is really good.”

“Through tournaments like this you can really bond with other players on the tour, both men and women,” said Dimitrov, the fourth member of Djokovic’s Falcons. “Everyone of us wants to be a part of it, enjoy it and of course compete. Competitors always stay competitive.”

Filippo De Rosa, CEO of HonorFX, sponsors of Teams Falcons described the WTL as a unique event that can only get better and better.

“The World Tennis League combines exceptional talent on the tennis court with worldwide famous entertainment acts. We are delighted to be a part of it as it is the perfect way to connect with our community of traders internationally.”

The daily entertainment following the matches will features acts like wo world clas DJs Tiesto, Armin van Buuren, Deadmau5 rapper Ne-Yo, hip-hop star Wizkid and Egyptian actor, singer, rapper, Mohamed Ramadan.

THE TEAMS

The Kites (Team A): Félix Auger-Aliassime, Gael Monfils, Iga Świątek, Sania Mirza and Eugenie Bouchard.

The Hawks (Team B): Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem, Elena Rybakina and Anett Kontaveit.

The Falcons (Team C): Novak Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov, Aryna Sabalenka and Paula Badosa.

The Eagles (Team D): Nick Kyrgios, Rohan Bopanna, Caroline Garcia, Bianca Andreescu, and Andreas Seppi.

THE SCHEDULE

Monday, December 19

6:00 pm The Kites v The Eagles

Felix Auger-Aliassime v Nick Kyrgios

Iga Swiatek v Caroline Garcia

Holger Rune/Sania Mirza v Bianca Andreescu/Rohan Bopanna

Concert Artist: Tiesto. Starts 10:00 pm

Tuesday, December 20

6:00 pm The Falcons v The Hawks

Novak Djokovic v Alexander Zverev

Aryna Sabalenka v Elena Rybakina

Grigor Dimitrov/Paula Badosa v Dominic Thiem/Anett Kontaveit

Concert Artist: Wizkid Starts: 10-00 pm

Wednesday, December 21

6:00 pm The Falcons v The Eagles

Novak Djokovic v Nick Kyrgios

Paula Badosa v Caroline Garcia

Grigor Dimitrov/Aryna Sabalenka v Bianca Andreescu/Andreas Seppi

Concert Artist: Ne-Yo Starts: 10 pm:00

Thursday, December 22

6:00 pm The Hawks v The Kites

Dominic Thiem Vs. Holger Rune

Anett Kontaveit v Iga Swiatek

Alexander Zverev/Elena Rybakina v Felix Auger-Aliassime/Eugenie Bouchard

Concert Artist: deadmau5 Starts: 10:00 pm

Friday, December 23

2:30 pm The Eagles v The Hawks

Nick Kyrgios v Alexander Zverev

Caroline Garcia v Elena Rybakina

Rohan Bopanna/Bianca Andreescu v Dominic Thiem/Anett Kontaveit

6:00 pm The Falcons v The Kites

Novak Djokovic v Felix Auger-Aliassime

Aryna Sabalenka v Iga Swiatek

Grigor Dimitrov/Paula Badosa v Holger Rune/Sania Mirza

Concert Artist: Mohamed Ramadan, Starts: 22:00

Saturday, December 24

6:00 pm The final


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