Baghdatis can’t wait to face a new challenge at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship


Marcos Baghdatis expects a new challenge at this month’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship.

The sociable Cypriot who bowed to Wimbledon in 2019 after a successful career that rose to 8NS in the world rankings and runner-up at the Australian Open 2006.NS Edition of the top-class pre-season tournament from 16.-18. December.

Audience favorite Andy Murray and the legendary five-time champion Rafael Nadal lead an eight-man field, which also includes the sensation of the ATP Tour 2021, Casper Ruud, the world number five Andrey Rublev and the 2020 US Open winner Dominic Thiem. The 2021 US Open Phenomenon Emma Raducanu and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Champion Belinda Bencic will also meet in a highly anticipated women’s clash.

Baghdatis, 36, will interview these sacred athletes on the court and interact with a legion of passionate UAE tennis fans. This is an opportunity he cannot wait for.

“It’s different for me and I’m so excited,” said Baghdatis of the event, which is making a welcome return at full capacity at the Zayed Sport City International Tennis Center.

“I love interacting with the audience, fans and players. It’s something different and that’s the first time I’ve tried something like this.

“I think I’ll love it and learn something from it. In any case, I’m very excited and I can’t wait to get started. “

Mubadala is an important starting point for the next season, with the Australian Open scheduled to begin on January 17, 2022. This is especially true for Nadal and Thiem.

The Spaniard, 20-time Grand Slam champion and icon of the sport, announced an early end of 2021 in August due to a left foot problem. Former number three in the world, Thiem, is coming next year after an injury-ridden campaign that ends ahead of a canceled US Open defense due to his wrist problem.

Runner-up David Goffin (l) and 2016 MWTC Champion Rafael Nadal (r).

Baghdatis said Mubadala will be especially important to the celebrated duo.

He said: “It is important for all players, but Rafa and Dominic have to play games before the Australian Open.

“With Rafa, he has surprised us so often. Don’t play before the Australian Open, but then get very deep into the tournament.

“Thim, it’s his first long injury. We have seen Rafa before [but not Thiem].

“I definitely think he wants to play a few games in Abu Dhabi before going to Australia.”

Baghdatis’ playing experience at MWTC only lasted until the quarter-final defeat against Tomas Berdych in January 2011. But this experience has left its mark.

“Incredible event,” he replied when asked to recall his memories. “The venue is great for the players, the hotel is fantastic, the facilities are fantastic, there are some practice areas.

“It’s a great prep tournament for these guys to be part of.”

He added, “It’s a very fun event. The most important thing is that you can play games at the highest level after your off-season.

“That’s what you want this moment of the year before you go to Australia. The games you play are pretty competitive, they have a nice crowd, and it’s a great level to start the year with.

“It’s a great event for the players and for the fans to see the players more relaxed.

“You are not playing the final of a Grand Slam. But it’s nice for the fans to see the players a little closer and to interact with them. “

Star power is also plentiful in the women’s match. Raducanu gained worldwide attention when she became the first female qualifier to win a Grand Slam in the Open Era at Flushing Meadows, while former world number four Bencic demonstrated enduring quality by becoming the first Swiss woman to triumph at the Games.

“Bencic may not have had the best year of their career, but the craziest one because they won a gold medal,” said Baghdatis. “It’s just amazing.

“Emma [Raducanu]what a story we’ve seen over the past few months. I find it very exciting to see these two girls after the best emotions of their lives, the best moments of their careers.

“I’m excited to see how you react and how you play next year.”

Baghdatis has seen a change of pace since he hung up his bat two years ago.

Emma Raducanu with the US Open trophy.

Emma Raducanu with the US Open trophy.

Ukrainian Elina Svitolina appeared as a trainer before the COVID-19 pandemic. This has led him to explore new opportunities, including at MWTC, and try to “improve my dad skills”.

“In the beginning before COVID it was great,” said Baghdatis. “But, like everyone else, COVID made life a little different, let’s say …

“I enjoy it because I have three children and a nice family. I’m trying to improve my dad’s skills and be a better husband.

“They say they love it, so it’s great. Taking care of the kids, I’ve always wanted to have a family and spending so much time with them is great – I just love it. “

He added, “COVID was coming and it was just not the right time to travel. Maybe in the future we’ll see if I go into the coaching profession, but my goal is to stay in tennis internationally and also locally in Cyprus.

“I want to try to give something back to a sport that I love, and especially to the young children who want to play professional tennis.

“I just want to be there for you. We have a few projects ahead of us, maybe the establishment of a tennis academy in Cyprus. “

Despite its notoriety and popularity, Mubadala does not yet have an official place on the ATP tour. Baghdatis was certain that this status would come in time.

“Why not? There’s no reason not to,” he replied.

“Just take the right steps and I think if it becomes an ATP Tour event I think it will be a great tournament.”

Tickets from Dh 100 for adults and Dh 50 for children are available in the United Arab Emirates at ticketmaster.ae and Virgin Megastores. In accordance with current protocols, measures will be taken in the stadium and throughout the Tennis Village to ensure the health and safety of fans, players and officials.

Additionally, in accordance with the latest government guidelines, the championship will welcome fans and spectators with green status in the Al Hosn app and a negative PCR test result valid for 96 hours over three days of exciting tennis action in a safe environment.





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