Djokovic and Swiatek among top stars to compete at World Tennis League in Dubai

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Iga Swiatek, who is reigning champion at both the French and US Opens, will face Caroline Garcia in the opener on December 19 at Dubai’s Coca-Cola Arena.

Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

Eighteen of the world’s top tennis stars, including one of the greatest players the game has ever seen, Novak Djokovic, will battle it out to become the first winners of the World Tennis League, in partnership with Dubai Sports Council at Dubai’s Coca-Cola Arena this December.

Held from Dec.19-24, ticket holders will see their favourite players in action, and can then also enjoy post-match concerts from six award-winning acts; Tiesto, deadmau5, Wizkid, Armin van Buuren, Mohamed Ramadan and Ne-Yo.

The tennis stars have a fantastic 39 Grand Slam titles to their names, including a remarkable 21 singles crowns held by Djokovic, which will no doubt ensure that spectators have an unforgettable experience.

In an official World Tennis League draw, the 18 players were placed into four teams and will compete in a round-robin format, featuring a men’s singles, a women’s singles and a mixed doubles. Matches will consist of two sets, with a tiebreaker played if necessary.

The four teams who will compete for the title are: The Falcons: Novak Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov, Aryna Sabalenka and Paula Badosa; The Hawks: Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem, Elena Rybakina and Annett Kontaveit; The Kites: Felix Auger Aliassime, Gael Monfils, Iga Swiatek, Sania Mirza and Eugenie Bouchard; The Eagles: Nick Kyrgios, Rohan Bopanna, Caroline Garcia, Bianca Andreescu and Andreas Seppi.

“The World Tennis League promises a memorable experience for everyone who attends the Greatest Show On Court, and the four teams are certain to provide excitement and thrills galore as they each fight it out for the right to be crowned champions,” said Scott Davidoff, the CEO of the WTL.

“And what better combination can there be, with award-winning entertainers following on-court tennis action to round out each day in style.”

Taking part alongside Djokovic will be Zverev, who by reaching the 2022 French Open semi-finals climbed to No. 2 in the world; Auger-Aliassime, who as one of the most talented young players on the ATP Tour has been re-writing the history books of Canadian tennis; and Kyrgios, one of the most colourful characters in the game and runner-up to Djokovic in the 2022 Wimbledon final.

Joining them will be former world No.3 and 2020 US Open champion Thiem, who is working his way back up the rankings after suffering a severe wrist injury; Dimitrov, former junior world No.1 and Bulgaria’s most successful player in ATP history with three Grand Slam semi-final appearances and the winner’s trophy earned at the 2017 ATP Finals; Monfils, acclaimed as one of the greatest showmen the sport has ever seen; Seppi, the first Italian to win a title on all three surfaces; and Indian doubles veteran Rohan Bopanna, who at 42 still holds a doubles ranking inside world’s top 20.

The women’s line-up is just as impressive, headed by dominant world No.1 and three-time Grand Slam winner Iga Swiatek, who this year has been setting new records on the WTA Tour; reigning Wimbledon champion Rybakina, who has wins this year over three former Grand Slam champions; Kontaveit, winner of six WTA titles, with another 10 runner-up trophies and the first Estonian to participate in the WTA Championships where she went all the way to the 2021 final; and Badosa, a former French Open junior champion competing in the World Tennis League after climbing to number two in the world during 2022.

Joining them are Sabalenka, who is a multi-Grand Slam semi-finalist (Wimbledon, 2021 and US Open, 2021 and 2022), and a former doubles world No.1 with two Grand Slam doubles titles; Andreescu, the highest-ranked female Canadian in history, who became the first Canadian to win a Grand Slam singles title at the 2019 US Open and the first player to win a Grand Slam singles title as a teenager since Maria Sharapova in 2006; Garcia, one of only a handful of players to defeat number one Swiątek in 2022, a year in which she reached her first Grand Slam semi-final at the US Open; Sania, the first woman from her country to win a WTA singles title, the first Indian woman to win a Grand Slam title, the doubles at Wimbledon in 2015, and the first Indian woman to rise to world number one in either singles or doubles; and Eugenie Bouchard, who contested the 2014 Wimbledon final.

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