After five days of thrilling on-court action the winners of the inaugural Rafa Nadal Academy Kuwait Masters Tournament have been crowned at the Sheikh Jaber Al Abdullah Al Jaber Al Sabah International Tennis Complex. The historic event concluded with Sheikh Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah, president, Kuwait Tennis Federation (KTF), presenting the trophies to the winners.
The finals featured 16 of Kuwait’s best tennis players above the age of 18, with eight men and eight women taking to the courts from December 5-9. The championship was also a landmark for the world-class tennis facility, marking the first major tournament at the venue since it was inaugurated by 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal back in February.
With stringent health and safety protocols in place in adherence to Kuwait’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rafa Nadal Academy Kuwait Masters Tournament, in collaboration with the Kuwait Tennis Federation (KTF), is the latest initiative to empower regional grassroots tennis and create future champions in Kuwait.
After coming through three intense challenges to reach the final, 19-year-old Essa Qabazard claimed the men’s title, beating Abdulrahman Alawadhi. In the women’s event, Yasmine Alshammali, 26, produced some fine tennis to beat Sara Behbehani to claim the trophy. The 16 players earned their place in the finals based on performances in three preceding tournaments hosted by Rafa Nadal Academy Kuwait.
The Rafa Nadal Academy Kuwait Tennis Tournament series is part of the thorough effort by the Academy and the KTF to create a strong network of competitions across age groups in Kuwait, laying the foundations for the eventual creation of a Kuwait Open in 2021.
“This championship not only underlines the commitment of Tamdeen Group to foster a culture of sport and healthy lifestyles for the people of Kuwait, but it also emphasises our strong relationship with the Kuwait Tennis Federation. With some top-class action on the court, it is evident we are on the right track in providing a platform for excellence, and opportunities for the Kuwaiti tennis community to realise their potential,” said Mohammed Mustafa Al Marzouq, general manager of Tamdeen Sports.
“Our objective is to develop a tennis culture and tournaments such as this will go a long way in creating a buzz about the sport in Kuwait and will bring the tennis community closer. They also serve as a barometer for our coaches on the journey to creating the next set of Kuwaiti tennis champions. We are thankful to our partners – Intersport, Aquafina, Zain, and Gatorade for their support in helping us organise a successful and keenly-contested tournament,” said Martijn Belgraver, General Manager, Rafa Nadal Academy Kuwait.
For more information on memberships, visit www.rafanadalacademykuwait.com, and follow @rafanadalacademykuwait on Facebook and Instagram.