World-class players from around the world will start their battle for glory today when the Interior Ministry ATP Tennis Challenger gets underway at the Public Security’s Officers Club in Gudaibiya.
Eighty players from 29 countries are confirmed to compete in the 10-day tournament, organised by the ministry’s Public Security Sports Federation under the patronage of Interior Minister Lt Gen Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa.
Organised in Bahrain for the second time, the prestigious event is the largest tennis sporting event hosted by the kingdom. It kicks off today with 12 singles and doubles qualifying round matches, where only four players will book their berths in the final rounds. Preliminary rounds will be held today and tomorrow.
Ranked players to feature in the tournament include 127th ranked Rado Bot from Moldova, 147th ranked Christopher O’Connell of Austria, 158th ranked Sam Arkle of Turkey, 160th ranked Slick Blake of Turkey and 184th ranked Branish Kaneshwaran of India.
Yesterday, the players took part in their first training sessions at the tournament courts.
The host country will be banking on their prominent duo – Yousef Qaed and Hassan Abdulreda, who finalised their preparations before making debut at the ATP Tennis Challenger tour. The pair hope to make an honourable show amidst the participation of leading players from around the world.
Meanwhile, tournament details were announced at a Press conference yesterday at the Officers Club premises, where the facilities and conditions were revealed.
It was attended by Public Security Sports Association president and chairman of the organising committee Colonel Khaled Abdulaziz Al Khayyat, International Tennis Federation representative and tournament supervisor Valery Lutkov of Russia, and tournament director Captain Mohamed Al Sayed. Capt Al Sayed said the semi-finals and finals of the singles and doubles events are scheduled for November 27 and 28.
Hotel and Transports committee chairman Abdulla Al Zuabi said the committee has already approved the programme for transporting the players to the pubic security’s officers club and back to the hotel.