Eyes of the sporting world turn to Abu Dhabi

It is getting better by the year and the timing on the calendar makes it just right for Abu Dhabi fans to look forward to some world class tennis action.

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ABU DHABI // With their appetite whetted by two years of the World Tennis Championship, fans in Abu Dhabi must certainly be wishing for more - a star-studded, ATP Tour tournament to add to the capital's list of high-profile events.

Hoever, IMG, the organisers of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, believe no other tournament can serve Abu Dhabi better than the existing tournament, the third edition of which starts on Thursday.

"We had some of those discussions, but frankly the timing of the event and the things that we built around it make it perfect just the way it is," said Greg Sproule, the managing director of IMG Middle East.

"There are no other events that take place in the world of tennis during the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. So we really have the global TV audiences focused on this event. The timing is really great from a tennis perspective, from the television point of view."

The championship, with prize money of US$250,000 (Dh918,000), will bring together six of the ATP's top 20, including the Nos 1 and 2, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, at the Abu Dhabi International Tennis Complex in Zayed Sports City for a three-day festival.

Last year's finalist, Robin Soderling, the energetic Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Tomas Berdych and Marcos Baghdatis complete the line-up at the season-opener of world tennis.

The event also features activities for fans of all ages.

"In this special format that we have, we have an inordinate amount of access to the players to be a part of these community initiatives, and to be engaging with our sponsors and their VIP guests so extensively," Sproule said.

"So we have really tailor-made the programme to be exactly what Abu Dhabi needs. It works very well.

"It doesn't mean that we are not looking at new ways to make the event bigger and better - we are, and we have that obligation to the Executive Affairs Authority and to Abu Dhabi, but the event works really well."