Advantage, Abu Dhabi

A plan to recreate the salad days of tennis in the UAE is welcome, but it does have one tiny flaw

The Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi will host a relaxed tennis tournament. Ryan Carter / The National
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In common with all professional sports, tennis is fiercely competitive. With prize money and sponsorships worth millions – Roger Federer’s total wealth, for example, is estimated at $300 million (Dh1.1bn) – the stakes are always high.

But when big money comes into play, the fun can disappear as fast as a Federer ace. Which is why it's nice to know about a plan to return the game to its more genteel roots, if only for three days. Tennis at the Palace, at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi from March 12-14 next year, promises fun exhibition games featuring former Wimbledon champs Richard Krajicek and Pat Cash, and trick-shot specialist Mansour Bahrami.

It aims to bring “top tennis action in a traditional garden party ­atmosphere to Abu Dhabi”. For anglophiles, that will conjure up images of cucumber sandwiches, iced tea and strawberries with cream. There’s no doubt that the Emirates Palace can provide all those things. But there’s one element of a traditional English summer tennis game nobody in the UAE can guarantee – and that’s the rain that inevitably disrupts play.