Berdych Helps to Launch Mubadala Tennis Initiatives

(October, 15, 20012) Czech Tomas Berdych has officially launched this year’s Mubadala Tennis in Schools and Mubadala Community Cup initiatives at the Zayed Sports City, as excitement builds up across the UAE for the fifth Mubadala World Tennis Championship this New Year.

Having been announced to play in this year’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship alongside Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, David Ferrer, and Janko Tipsarevic, Tomas Berdych, the current world No. 6, hosted a series of interactive clinics to share his skills, experience and passion directly with children and PE teachers from schools across the country.

Speaking in Abu Dhabi at the launch of the Mubadala Community initiatives Tomas Berdych said:

“I’m really excited to be back in Abu Dhabi. Thanks to the Mubadala World Tennis Championship the sport is growing so quickly and it’s great to be a small part of that. I love to see young players inspired to pick up a racket for the first time and the younger they are introduced to the game, the better. Through the tournament and Mubadala’s ongoing commitment to developing tennis in the UAE every ingredient is in place to foster local talent as well as promote an active lifestyle to future generations. Sport is all about having fun and staying healthy and that is exactly what these youngsters have been doing today.”

“I can’t wait to get back on court in Abu Dhabi for the tournament from the 27th December and to also see how these kids have progressed. The atmosphere, weather and player line-up are all world-class so I’m sure it will be great for the players and the fans.”

Berdych’s special appearance in Abu Dhabi kick-started the expanded Mubadala Tennis in Schools program, a unique community initiative developed by the tournament organizers and supported by Mubadala to introduce tennis to children of all ages. The program provides expert coaching and free Wilson mini-tennis equipment while promoting the importance of regular exercise and a healthy diet.

Amina Taher, Head of Community Engagement at Mubadala explained:

“These community initiatives are at the very heart of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship and having a player of Tomas’s caliber with us today demonstrates our ongoing commitment to grow tennis. Last year 14,000 children were introduced to tennis for the very first time. This year we plan to expand on this, not only in terms of more opportunities for children to play through the introduction of new after schools sessions but also through the use of inspirational figures such as Tomas.”

“Regardless of skill, age or ambition Mubadala wants to help all children make the most of their talents and make sport an enjoyable part of their daily life. We believe that by sharing time with someone like Tomas today the experience will go far beyond expert tennis tuition and inspire Abu Dhabi’s children to live healthy and active lives.”

This year’s launch saw Berdych also conduct an interactive coaching clinic for PE teachers from schools across the country, designed to help younger children grasp the basic techniques from the very start. A further new addition this year is the introduction of six consecutive ‘After School Sessions’ for all children participating in the program. The free sessions at Zayed Sports City aim to give children a chance to build on their tennis skills outside of school.

Speaking at the launch, John Lickrish, FLASH Entertainment said:

“Today a new generation of tennis players in Abu Dhabi took their first steps in the game alongside an ideal role model, Tomas Berdych. There is no other tournament in the world that gives youngsters the opportunity to learn, play and enjoy tennis with their heroes. Everyone has enjoyed spending time with Tomas I’ve no doubt when he returns to Centre Court for our tournament he’ll have a few more young fans supporting him.”

Having coached kids and teachers from the Mubadala Tennis in Schools Program, Berdych completed an action packed day in Abu Dhabi on court with eight lucky winners of an early ticket competition, further proving the unrivalled access some fans and young players can experience at the tournament.

The visit of Berdych also kick started the Mubadala Community Cup, a series of local tournaments that gives local tennis fanatics the chance to experience the thrill of a competitive tournament with an exclusive spot in a tennis clinic up for grabs. Registration for this year’s Mubadala Community Cup is now open, so all tennis fans eight years and over are encouraged to sign up now at www.mubadalawtc.com to avoid disappointment. Entry is free and the champions of each age group will win a once in a lifetime opportunity to join an exclusive tennis clinic hosted by a tennis superstar at this year’s tournament.

Six of the world’s top ten players will compete for the title in Abu Dhabi with latest Grand Slam winner and No.  3 Andy Murray joined by Mubadala World Tennis Championship defending champion and world No. 2 Novak Djokovic, No. 4 Rafael Nadal, No. 5 David Ferrer and No. 6 Tomas Berdych alongside a debut appearance from No.  9 Janko Tipsarevic.

The Mubadala World Tennis Championship runs from 27th December to 29st December 2012 and tickets are available at www.thinkflash.ae .