Aref Al Awani, Vickie Gunnarsson, and Homaid Al Shimmari at the International Tennis Centre in Abu Dhabi.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and IMG on Monday announced Abu Dhabi will be the newest destination for the world’s professional women’s tennis tour.
The ‘Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open’ will be held in the capital of the UAE, from February 5–12, 2023. It is the first ongoing WTA sanctioned tour event to be located in the Emirate.
Hosted in partnership with Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Mubadala, the WTA 500 event will bring together the world’s top female players at Zayed Sports City’s International Tennis Centre, including World No. 2, Ons Jabeur.
“I’m really excited to once again be playing in Abu Dhabi in February. The atmosphere and support from the fans is always incredible and I hope to continue my winning run in an amazing venue,” said Jabeur, who has previously thrilled crowds in the UAE capital in 2021 and 2022 by winning the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, an unsanctioned exhibition tournament.
Steve Simon, WTA Chairman and CEO, said: “Abu Dhabi’s position in the calendar will create a unique three-week Hologic WTA Tour swing in the region, promising best-in-class player fields competing for valuable WTA points. This tournament will build on the commitment Mubadala has made in introducing professional women’s tennis to Abu Dhabi in recent years.”
Aside from more than 60 singles and doubles matches across eight days, the tournament will feature a variety of entertaining activities for families and sports enthusiasts alike, including fan activations and tennis-themed games, as well as player Q&A sessions across the first four days.
Robbie Henchman, President of Global Partnerships – IMG Events, IMG Media & On Location, commented: “We are proud to bring the first-ever permanent official Women’s Tour event to Abu Dhabi. Mubadala and Abu Dhabi Sports Council are the perfect partners to help us deliver a world-class, action-packed event, with thrilling action on and off the court for fans, families, and friends to enjoy.”
Title partner Mubadala has been a committed supporter of tennis for over 14 years, sponsoring numerous professional tennis events globally as well as supporting local initiatives such as the Mubadala Community Cup and Mubadala Tennis in Schools Programs. This event will expand their involvement in women’s tennis, adding a second WTA 500 event to their WTA partnership portfolio.
Homaid Al Shimmari, Deputy Group CEO and Chief Corporate & Human Capital Officer for Mubadala Investment Company, said: “We are thrilled to be part of bringing this inaugural WTA 500 tour event to Abu Dhabi, continuing our global support of tennis and attracting world-class events to the Emirate. This partnership complements our efforts to promote an active and healthy lifestyle in the community, and builds on the legacy of Mubadala supporting professional women’s tennis in the region.”
Abu Dhabi Sports Council General Secretary Aref Hamad Al Awani said: “We are delighted to welcome the Hologic WTA Tour to Abu Dhabi. The tournament underpins our commitment to bring a variety and equality sporting events to the region and to inspire the young sporting generations. The hosting of this tournament is a testament to Abu Dhabi’s abilities as hosts and organisers. We aim to build on that to fulfil even more of our goals for the upcoming event.
“Our commitment encompasses all areas of the tournament, from providing world-class facilities for athletes to play to their best, to creating an exciting atmosphere for spectators to enjoy themselves. Hence, you can expect the inaugural edition to be nothing short of amazing.