Thursday, February 09, 2023 | Daily Newspaper published by GPPC Doha, Qatar.


Secretary-general of Qatar Tennis Federation Tareq Zainal (centre), Tournament Director of Qatar TotalEnergies Open Saad al-Mohannadi (right) and Tournament Director of Qatar ExxonMobil Open Karim Alami are seen at a press conference at the Khalifa Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha on Wednesday.

QTF gears up for three weeks of tennis, padel extravaganza

Tennis fans are in for a treat this month. For the first time in three decades, the iconic Khalifa Tennis and Squash Complex will stage the Qatar TotalEnergies Open and Qatar ExxonMobil Open across back-to-back weeks starting next Monday.The two tournaments will be immediately followed by the Ooredoo Qatar Major Premier Padel event at the end of this month (February 26-March 5).According to Tareq Zainal, Secretary-General of Qatar Tennis Federation (QTF), Khalifa Complex will be at the centre of attention starting Saturday when the qualifiers for the $800,000 Qatar TotalEnergies Open kick off.“We are hosting two back-to-back weeks of non-stop tennis. This will be the first time that Qatar TotalEnergies Open (Feb 13 to 18) and Qatar ExxonMobil Open (February 20 to 26) will be held in quick succession,” Zainal told local media yesterday at a press conference.Before the Covid-19 pandemic that disrupted world’s sports calendar in 2020, the two Doha events were usually staged in January reserved for the ATP Tour tournament followed by the women’s event in February.“We are looking forward to hosting the world’s best players on the WTA Tour and the ATP Tour over these two weeks. It is not too difficult to host events like this as we have been staging top tier tennis tournaments since 1993,” he added.“I can’t say whether this would be a permanent fixture as the tennis calendars for the coming season would be decided later,” Zainal said.Tournament Director of Qatar TotalEnergies Open Saad al-Mohannadi said yesterday: “It will be a big challenge but we are ready as players have started arriving for the Qatar TotalEnergies Open. The first two days of action is reserved for the qualifiers followed by the main draw action from Monday.”He added: “We have a 32-player field in the singles and 16-player draw in the doubles. The Qatar TotalEnergies Open is a 500 event.”Officials confirmed World No 3 Ons Jabuer of Tunisia pulled out of the events in Doha and Dubai to undergo ‘a minor surgery’.Jabeur, 28, was runner up at last year’s Wimbledon and US Open. “To take care of my health situation, my medical team have decided that I need to get a minor surgery in order to be able to be back on the courts and perform well,” Jabeur said on social media.“I will have to retire from Doha and Dubai and this is breaking my heart. I would like to say sorry to all the fans out there in the Middle East that waited for this reunion. I promise I will come back to you stronger and healthy,” she added.Defending champion and World No 1 Iga Swiatek, winner of two Grand Slam titles last season, tops the lineup in Doha. World No 3 Jessica Pegula, No 4 Caroline Garcia and No 5 Aryna Sabalenka, the reigning Australian Open champion and winner in Doha in 2020, make up the star cast.Coco Gauff, Daria Kasatkina, Veronika Kudermetova and Belinda Bencic round out the top 10 entrants. Jelena Ostapenko and two-time Doha champion Petra Kvitova are other Grand Slam champions entered into the main-draw field.Zainal said the two hugely popular tennis tournaments will be followed by the first stop over of the Premier Padel series that kicks off with the Ooredoo Qatar Major Premier Padel at Khalifa Complex from February 26-March 5.“We tasted grand success last year when staged the Padel tournament. We expect another blockbuster as the world’s best players will be here in Doha. We have extended wildcards to four Qatar players to form two teams,” Zainal said.Karim Alami, the Tournament Director for Qatar ExxonMobil Open, said a top line-up for the February 20 to 26 tournament has been assured. “We will have the guaranteed presence of Grand Slam winner Daniil Medvedev, former champion in Doha Andrey Rublev and Alexander Zverev. They will be joined former champion Andy Murray and Doha-based Fernando Verdasco on wildcards,” Alami said on Wednesday.

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