A contemporary 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 eightth on the earth rankings plus be runner-up at 2006’s Australian Open, will take over as MC on the 13th edition of the star-studded pre-season tournament from December 16-18.
Crowd-favourite Andy Murray and the enduring five-time champion Rafael Nadal head an eight-man discipline, which additionally consists of 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’t wait to embrace.
“For me, it’s one thing completely different and I’m so excited,” mentioned Baghdatis, in regards to the occasion which is making a welcome return at Zayed Sport Metropolis’s Worldwide Tennis Centre with full capability.
“I really like interacting with the group, followers and gamers. It’s one thing completely different and the primary time I attempted one thing like this.
“I feel I’ll like it and study one thing from it. Positively, I’m very excited and can’t look ahead to it to start out.”
Mubadala is a crucial place to begin 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, announced an early end to 2021 in August because of a left-foot issue. Former world quantity three Thiem comes into subsequent yr on the again of an damage ravaged marketing campaign, prematurely ending prior to a cancelled US Open defence because of his wrist problem.
Baghdatis declared Mubadala will probably be particularly very important for the celebrated duo.
He mentioned: “It’s important for all of the gamers, however Rafa and Dominic might want to play matches earlier than the Australian Open.
“With Rafa, he has shocked us so many instances. Not taking part in earlier than the Australian Open, however then going very deep into the match.
“Thiem, it’s his first lengthy damage. We noticed Rafa earlier than [but not Thiem].
“I positively 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 only 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 recollections. “The venue is nice for the gamers, the lodge is wonderful, the amenities are wonderful, you could have some apply courts.
“It’s a nice preparation match for these guys to be there.”
He added: “It’s a very enjoyable occasion. Probably the most-important factor is you get to play matches on the very high stage after your off season.
“That’s what you need at that second of the yr, 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 stage for the start of the yr.
“It’s a tremendous 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 global attention when she became the first qualifier to claim a Grand Slam in the Open Era at Flushing Meadows, whereas ex-world quantity 4 Bencic showcased enduring quality by becoming the first Swiss female to triumph at the Games.
“Bencic possibly didn’t have the very best yr of her profession, however the craziest due to successful a gold medal,” Baghdatis mentioned. “That’s simply wonderful.
“Emma [Raducanu], what a narrative we’ve witnessed within the final couple of months. I feel it very thrilling to see these two ladies 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 yr 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.
Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina got here below 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 mentioned. “However COVID has made it, like everyone, life a bit completely different let’s say…
“I take pleasure in it as a result of I’ve three youngsters and a beautiful 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 needed a household and to spend a lot time with them is wonderful – I simply like it.”
He added: “COVID got here and it simply wasn’t for me the correct second to journey anymore. Perhaps sooner or later we are going to see if I’m going into teaching, however my purpose is to remain in tennis internationally and in addition domestically in Cyprus.
“I wish to try to give again to a sport I really like and, particularly, the younger youngsters who wish to play skilled tennis.
“I simply wish to be there for them. Now we have a few initiatives 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 time.
“Why not? There is no such thing as a motive to not,” he replied.
“Simply take the correct steps and I feel if it turns into an ATP Tour occasion, I feel will probably be a tremendous match.”
Tickets, ranging from Dh100 for adults and Dh50 for kids, can be found from ticketmaster.ae and Virgin Megastores throughout the UAE. Consistent with present protocols, measures will probably 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 destructive PCR check consequence with 96-hour validity throughout three days of thrilling tennis motion, in a protected and safe atmosphere.