A recent problem awaits Marcos Baghdatis at this month’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship.
The gregarious Cypriot, who bowed out at 2019’s Wimbledon after a profitable profession which noticed him rise to eighth on this planet rankings plus be runner-up at 2006’s Australian Open, will take over as MC on the thirteenth version of the star-studded pre-season event from December 16-18.
Crowd-favourite Andy Murray and the long-lasting five-time champion Rafael Nadal head an eight-man discipline, which additionally contains 2021 ATP Tour sensation Casper Ruud, world quantity 5 Andrey Rublev and 2020 US Open winner Dominic Thiem. 2021 US Open phenom Emma Raducanu and Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic additionally meet in an eagerly anticipated girls’s conflict.
Baghdatis, 36, will interview these hallowed athletes on courtroom, plus work together with legion of passionate UAE tennis supporters off it. This is a chance he can not wait to embrace.
“For me, it’s one thing totally different and I’m so excited,” stated Baghdatis, concerning the occasion which is making a welcome return at Zayed Sport Metropolis’s Worldwide Tennis Centre with full capability.
“I like interacting with the group, followers and gamers. It’s one thing totally different and the primary time I attempted one thing like this.
“I believe I’ll adore it and be taught one thing from it. Positively, I’m very excited and can’t look ahead to it to start out.”
Mubadala is a crucial start line for subsequent season, with the Australian Open scheduled to start on January 17, 2022. That is very true for Nadal and Thiem.
The Spaniard, a 20-time Grand Slam champion and icon of the game, introduced an early finish to 2021 in August due to a left-foot concern. Former world quantity three Thiem comes into subsequent 12 months on the again of an damage ravaged marketing campaign, prematurely ending previous to a cancelled US Open defence due to his wrist drawback.
Runner-up David Goffin (l) and 2016 MWTC champion Rafael Nadal (r).
Baghdatis declared Mubadala might be particularly very important for the celebrated duo.
He stated: “It can be crucial for all of the gamers, however Rafa and Dominic might want to play matches earlier than the Australian Open.
“With Rafa, he has stunned us so many instances. Not taking part in earlier than the Australian Open, however then going very deep into the event.
“Thiem, it’s his first lengthy damage. We noticed Rafa earlier than [but not Thiem].
“I undoubtedly imagine he’ll wish to play a number of matches in Abu Dhabi, earlier than heading to Australia.”
Baghdatis’ taking part in expertise at MWTC solely stretched to January 2011’s quarter-final defeat to Tomas Berdych. However that is an expertise which left its mark.
“Unbelievable occasion,” he replied when requested to recall his reminiscences. “The venue is nice for the gamers, the resort is superb, the services are superb, you’ve some follow courts.
“It’s a nice preparation event for these guys to be there.”
He added: “It’s a very enjoyable occasion. Essentially the most-important factor is you get to play matches on the very prime degree after your off season.
“That’s what you need at that second of the 12 months, earlier than you head to Australia. The matches that you simply play are fairly aggressive, there’s a good crowd and it’s a nice degree for the start of the 12 months.
“It’s an incredible occasion for the gamers and for the followers to see the gamers being a bit-more relaxed.
“They aren’t taking part in the ultimate of a Grand Slam. However it’s good for the followers to see the gamers a bit nearer and get to work together with them.”
Star energy can also be plentiful within the girls’s match. Raducanu garnered international consideration when she turned the primary qualifier to say a Grand Slam within the Open Period at Flushing Meadows, whereas ex-world quantity 4 Bencic showcased enduring high quality by changing into the primary Swiss feminine to triumph on the Video games.
“Bencic possibly didn’t have the very best 12 months of her profession, however the craziest due to profitable a gold medal,” Baghdatis stated. “That’s simply superb.
“Emma [Raducanu], what a narrative now we have witnessed within the final couple of months. I believe it very thrilling to see these two women after having the very best feelings of their lives, the very best moments of their careers.
“I’m excited to see how they react within the subsequent 12 months and the way they’re taking part in.”
A change of tempo has been encountered by Baghdatis since he hung up his racket two years in the past.
Emma Raducanu with the US Open trophy.
Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina got here beneath his guise as a coach, previous to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has left him to discover new alternatives, together with at MWTC, plus attempt to “enhance my dad abilities.”
“To start with earlier than COVID, it was nice,” Baghdatis stated. “However COVID has made it, like all people, life a bit totally different let’s say…
“I take pleasure in it as a result of I’ve three children and a stunning household. I’m making an attempt to enhance my dad abilities and being a greater husband.
“They are saying they’re loving it, so it’s nice. Caring for the youngsters, I all the time wished a household and to spend a lot time with them is superb – I simply adore it.”
He added: “COVID got here and it simply wasn’t for me the proper second to journey anymore. Perhaps sooner or later we are going to see if I’m going into teaching, however my objective is to remain in tennis internationally and in addition regionally in Cyprus.
“I wish to try to give again to a sport I like and, particularly, the younger children who wish to play skilled tennis.
“I simply wish to be there for them. Now we have a few tasks coming, possibly launching a tennis academy in Cyprus.”
Mubadala is but to achieve an official spot on the ATP Tour, regardless of its prominence and recognition. Baghdatis was positive this standing will are available in time.
“Why not? There is no such thing as a cause to not,” he replied.
“Simply take the proper steps and I believe if it turns into an ATP Tour occasion, I believe it will likely be an incredible event.”
Tickets, ranging from Dh100 for adults and Dh50 for kids, can be found from ticketmaster.ae and Virgin Megastores throughout the UAE. In step with present protocols, measures might be in place inside the stadium and all through the Tennis Village to make sure the well being and security of followers, gamers and officers.
Moreover, according to the most recent authorities pointers the Championship will welcome followers and spectators with inexperienced standing on the Al Hosn app and a unfavourable PCR check consequence with 96-hour validity throughout three days of thrilling tennis motion, in a secure and safe surroundings.