A total of 30 Emirati players will compete in the SMK Tennis annual tournament, which will be held at the palace of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalid Al Nahyan.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
SMK Tennis Academy, an exclusive members-only training school in Abu Dhabi dedicated to raising the visibility and impact of the sport in women, announces the return of its annual tournament.
Marking its 13th edition this year, the event will take place under the patronage of Sheikha Mariam Bint Mohammed Bin Zayed from February 22 to March 8, 2023 at the palace of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalid Al Nahyan.
Excitement will fill the venue as the local community of tennis enthusiasts converges for an action-packed 15 days of intense competition. A total of 30 Emirati players will face off in 33 matches, each vying to cement their legacy on the court.
Sheikha Shaikha Bint Mohammed bin Khalid Al Nahyan, who founded the academy in 2009 inspired by her love of the sport and the need to create a platform for Emirati women to practice and train in a private location, said: “SMK Tennis Academy proudly strives to advance tennis in the UAE through progressive training programmes specially tailored for female Emirati players by providing an exclusive platform to practice and train comfortably, and to commemorate their growth with an annual tournament. This unique event marks a chance for tennis enthusiasts of all levels – from novice to experienced – to come together and relish their passion for the sport.”
Some of the players who will grace the court include: Hadeel Al Qadi, who works as Aldar Properties’ Senior President of Design with several SMK tournament wins to her name. For almost eight years, she has dominated the competition in both Singles and Doubles editions – making her an absolute star on the court. With years of experience, Shaikha Al Zaabi will surely bring some exciting tennis action this year.
The Real Estate Analyst at Mubadala Investment Company has been part of the academy since its inception, and is expected to continue her winning streak as she enters the court again. Offering spectators an exciting opportunity to witness tennis passion in action is Mahra Al Mulla, who has shown remarkable progress since she started playing in 2014.
She hopes her dedication and hard work will get her to the verge of realising a long-time dream: competing in this year’s tournament finals. Guests can also witness two inspirational players, Ayesha Al Fahim and Maha Bin Hendi, hit the courts. Having been part of this competition since 2011, Ayesha’s skill is well-established, whereas last year’s Singles edition winner, Maha, brings her championship edge onto the centre court.
One of the most awaited private sporting events amongst Emirati women, the SMK Tennis Academy’s annual tournament witnessed Hania Kuleib win the Singles edition in 2017 and 2019, Yasmin Khasim Al Remeithi in 2018, Hadeel Al Qadi in 2020, Maha Bin Hendi in 2022. Those who served impressive sets of matches with dynamic Doubles performances are Hania Kuleib and Hadeel Al Qadi in 2017, 2019 and 2020; Yasmin Khasim Al Remeithi and Sheikha Hamda Khalifa Al Nahyan in 2018; and Hadeel Al Qadi with Khuloud Al Mehairbi in 2022.
With over 800-900 guests in attendance each year, the tournament has been supported by many luxury brands as event partners for over a decade.
The venue will set off exciting new vibes with its motion-themed edition this year. Celebrating movement and the power of transformation, the 2023 edition will cater to re-imagining tennis through innovative ways that promise an unforgettable experience.
During the 15-day event, guests can look forward to a range of engaging activities and special occasions including fitness classes, beauty workshops, sports and lifestyle talks, exclusive dinners, and privileged networking opportunities, in addition to enjoying some world-class tennis action.