I had originally come to Abu Dhabi, one of the 7 emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, to enjoy the inaugural Capitala World Tennis Championship (the competition is known as the Mubadala World Tennis Championship now) before making my way to Dubai where I would stay with an old colleague of mine. Firstly though, let’s start with a short background to the U.A.E. In 1968, nine emirates (states) became independent from Britain including modern day Bahrain, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the five other smaller Arabian Peninsula emirates. In 1971 Abu Dhabi (rich in oil) and Dubai joined, with the five smaller emirates joining them in 1972, forming what we now know as the United Arab Emirates. The Sheikh of each emirate rules, but together they have created a remarkably liberal (for a Muslim state) and prosperous country.
While in Abu Dhabi I would join a few of my sister’s friends (who work along the coast in Dubai) and we’d all go to the World Tennis Championships. It sounds like an inflated title, but it didn’t change the fact that six of the top ten tennis players were going to be there so I couldn’t pass this opportunity up. The 6 players involved would be Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Nikolay Davydenko, Andy Roddick and James Blake. Of course along with a few local celebrities, I even saw Shakira and Chris Cairns in the crowd too.
As far as the tennis went, the quality and desperation wasn’t quite at the level of a Grand Slam, but the Murray and Federer matched lasted an exciting one hour and 50 minutes, with the up and coming Murray eventually taking it out 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (8-6). The world #1 Nadal was even overpowered by Murray in the final 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 in two hours and 45 minutes.
There was no doubt that there was some sublime tennis for an exhibition tournament, but that’s to be expected when you’re watching the world #1, #2, #4 and #5 battle it out! If you’re planning on visiting the U.A.E. during the cooler months around New Years, then be sure to get tickets to see some of the world’s best tennis players.