By Sports Reporter/Doha
In the next three or four years Qatar will have its new tennis stadium. This was informed by Qatar Tennis Federation (QTF) president Nasser bin Ghanim al-Khelaifi, while talking to media here yesterday.
“I hope the QTF will host more important tennis tournament in the coming future as the news stadium with improved facilities will be ready in the next three to four years.
“We have finalised the design of the stadium and it will be ready to host major events soon. The new facilities will give more exposure to our budding tennis players.” The president also of the view the Qatar ExxonMobil Open tournament, which is in its 21st year, is a great success and it has made a big impact on local tennis.
“Although it’s a 250 points tournament, but the prize money and the attendance of players is bigger than the tournaments in the 500 points series,” he said.
“I think it’s very important tournament. It’s one of the first, if not the first international tournament in Qatar, even in the region. It’s been now for 21 years. So it’s really very important. It has a very good reputation, very good image.
“The tournament has added a lot to the sport here. Today we have two Qatari players in the main draw of the tournament. This is for the first time we have two Qatari players playing at the same time in the main draw with the wildcards. I think there are lots of Qatari kids, who are coming to play tennis at their own now. With the time tennis has become one of the most popular sports in the country.
“I hope that we are going to do better in the near future. I also hope one day, we have a Qatari player in the main draw without using wildcard. This is my dream and I am keeping this as our objective as organisers,” said al-Khelaifi, who had played for Qatar.
However, QTF is not going to buy rights for any tournament outside Qatar. “We will only concentrate on our international and local tournaments that are being held here,” said al-Khelaifi.
Commenting over the absence of top players like Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal in Qatar Open this year he said, “Their presence is very important for the tournament. Actually Nadal has apologised by text message that he’s not participating in Doha this time due to some health issue. He also said ‘it’s one of his favorite tournaments.’ He loves Doha, as you know. I think we miss him here, and I wish him all the best. He’s a good friend of mine. He’s a great guy and excellent player.
“I hope he will come back soon, because we and tennis really miss him. I think the game needs the players like Rafa. However, we have good sale of tickets and the stadium was full during the semifinals last night.”