New beginning for UAE tennis
Photo: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News
The president of Tennis Emirates (TE) has promised that each of the seven emirates will soon have a state-of-the-art tennis facility.
Speaking to media immediately after welcoming the new board of directors at his residence on Tuesday, Shaikh Hasher Al Maktoum said that the long-standing and popular demand for tennis facilities for national teams and their interests will shortly be fulfilled. Besides the six board members, the meeting was also attended by former TE general secretary Dr Abdullah Bin Mohammad Bel Haif Al Nuaimi, Cabinet Member and Minister of Infrastructure Development.
“The process has been started and we can think of having our very own tennis centres in all seven emirates,” Shaikh Hasher later told media.
“Very soon we will have tennis centres in all emirates and the focus will be to find a group of players at all age level who will represent the country at various regional, continental and international competitions,” he added.
It may be recalled that Shaikh Hasher had announced the construction of a modern tennis centre that would serve as the nodal point for all age-level national squads of the UAE during the 2013 ITF annual general meeting (AGM) held in Dubai. The following year it was announced that land acquisition proceedings had commenced and TE was awaiting clearance from Dubai Municipality.
“Today is the start of a new chapter in the tennis history of the UAE. We now have a young and energetic set of officials, who have been players themselves when they were younger, and they have all shown a commitment to take our sport forward,” Shaikh Hasher said.
The incoming board of directors features four new faces, including three new women who will now be holding important positions in office. Also coming on board is former national team member Mohammad Abdullah Al Nuaimi, who will be in-charge of national teams and development of tennis.
The new board has several challenges before it. One for sure is the lack of training facility at the moment for various national teams, including the squad preparing for the Asia-Oceania Group III Davis Cup encounter in July in Sri Lanka.
The national squads have been struggling to even find practice courts for its junior and senior national squads on a regular basis. However, ironically, tennis has been booming in the country with TE records indicating the UAE has over 450 tennis courts, of which more than 250 are in Dubai alone. A further rough estimate says that nearly 15,000 people are directly or indirectly connected with tennis, and of these around 1,000 are active players. Nearly 80 tennis academies operate in the UAE, of which a little more than 20 are willingly registered with TE.
“There are rules and regulations governing tennis in the UAE and we want this to be a brand-new start, not just for us, but for our sport. The process has just begun and we will do everything possible to ensure that tennis moves from being a recreational sport to a professional sport,” he added.
Shaikh Hasher Al Maktoum, President
Ahmad Abdul Malik, Vice President
Mohammad Abdullah Al Nuaimi, National Team and Development
Mariam Yousuf Al Ahli, General Secretary
Nasser Al Marzouqi, Finance
Buthaina Hamad Bin Fahad, Marketing
Roberta Clarisa Al Julfar, Legal
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