Record Players Compete in Smash Tennis Tournament
12 May 2013
DOHA A RECORD number of 350 players are figuring in the fifth Smash Tennis Academy Championship, which will begin at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex on Monday.

Tournament Director Sultan Khalfan, while talking at a press conference on Sunday, disclosed that the annual tournament, organised by Smash Tennis Academy, is one of the most popular domestic tennis events. “With a humble start four years ago, the tournament has grown into a big affair. It is underlined by the fact that as many as 350 entries have been received in various events.

“The tournament will be played at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex and it will take two weeks to finish the event with the finals being scheduled on May 13,” added the former national champion.

Also present during the media briefing were Smash Academy Operations Director Heikel Lakhdhar and Finance Director Tawfik Khouiammi.

Lakhdhar informed that the fifth tournament has got another first in terms of the number of Qatari players.

“Besides the largest ever assembly of players in the Smash Tennis Academy Championship, it is a great pleasure to announce that 150 Qatari players would also contest in different events.

“This year, we’re also introducing four new categories to focus on the development of the younger lot. The new categories are under- 9 and under-10 for both boys and girls.

“The Academy has grown fast and big within a small time since its launch in 2006. We had started with four players. Now we have enrolled 364 local and expat players in various coaching programmes.

We also have 16 elite class players, who have been representing different national age group teams.

“We are working with the Qatar Tennis Federation with the aim of grooming the local talent. From providing the training to sending the players abroad for tournaments and coaching, we’re trying to offer the best possible playing environment to our budding players,” added Lakhdhar.

“Jabor Mutawa is on the right path. He is going to be the player Qatar is waiting for. He is just under 18 now but has a great potential. Musa Shanan is also doing very well and will soon play to become the champion in the Texas Nations Conference Cup,” informed the Smash Academy official.

To encourage the players to put in more efforts, the Smash Tennis Academy has also introduced the Fair Play Trophy. The winner will take home a trophy and a cash prize of QR5,000.

Khouiammi said the tournament has in all 18 categories and is carrying cash prizes and gift vouchers worth QR60,000. The six age categories in which boys and girls will contest in the singles are: under-8, under-9, under-10, under-12, under-14 and under-18.

The under-12, under-14 and under-18 will have the boys doubles events as well.

“Other classes are the mixed doubles, singles and doubles for the men, women and veterans (45 years and above). Competing in a tournament is an essential part of the grooming. That is why we have created so many groups so all the players have a fair chance to play and compete,” added Khouiammi.