Abu Dhabi aces ‘target’ MWTC glory after Galleria Al Maryah shootout

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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.

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