MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN
When I first started the Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge more than 20 years ago, I didn’t anticipate that it would have turned into the competition it is today. My aim was to give female players the opportunity to compete in the region. Today, the event, firmly on the ITF circuit, has helped kickstart many female players’ careers. In fact, in the lastest event, three-quarters of the top 100 female players in the world today have competed in the tournament at some stage. This fills me with great pride, and this was one of the main reasons why we upgraded the event to a $100,000+H category ITF tournament – making it among the highest ITF ranked tournament in the world.
I look forward to the Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge each year. I see many familiar faces and many new. I am incredibly proud what we have achieved for Women’s tennis, and moreso as it was the pioneering women’s tennis tournament in the Gulf region and the Middle East. Much like the Dubai and the UAE, this tournament has grown in both popularity and prestige.
The competition is about developing talent and furthering careers. And year after year I can see that we continue to do just that. As an avid tennis lover and player myself, I am delighted what this tournament has done for both women’s tennis and for Dubai. We will continue to invest in the sport and encourage rising stars to the Middle East. And while 2020 has been restricting for everyone the world over, I am delighted to see that here in the UAE, we continued to host players from all over the world to ensure that there was no distruption to their development.
We are incredibly priviledged to be living in a country that has learned to navigate this latest challenge so well, and that we have allowed young rising stars to continue to compete, offering a glimmer of hope to the world that all is not lost. We look forward to further enable female players to blossom here. This is one of the reasons why we decided to add more competitions to the Al Habtoor Tennis circuit. We cannot let adversity get in the way of ambitious and development. Both the Al Habtoor Tennis Cup and the Al Habtoor Women’s 25K have been welcomed addition to the Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Tennis Emirates and the ITF for their help and cooperation over the years, and to all the volunteers who have given up their time to make our tournaments such a resounding success. Thank you to all the line umpires, officials and ball girls and boys.
We will continue to give tennis players the opportunity to play and tennis enthusiasts the chance to watch the exciting action on court from the sidelines. The future is looking very bright for women’s tennis and I look forward to watch the players who participate continue to develop on the international tennis circuit. When I see players who have passed through our tournament compete in other tournaments around the world, I watch their progress with great interest and pride and know that we have played a small part in their success.
We look forward to welcoming more bright stars of the future to Dubai and to the Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge.
Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor