The UAE has offered to host the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Groups III and IV tournaments, which were due to take place in Myanmar but were cancelled because of security concerns following civil unrest last month.
Tennis Emirates first deputy, Abdulrahman Falaqnaz, says he is almost certain the Davis Cup action will be held in Dubai at the Aviation Club this September, where Omar Behroozian and Hamad Al Janahi will lead the Emirati challenge in Group III.
“We have spoken to the ITF and told them we would like to host it and I would say that 98 per cent it is okay,” Falaqnaz told Sport360° at a board meeting held at the palace of Tennis Emirates president Sheikh Hasher bin Juma Al Maktoum on Monday.
“We also have the backing of the Dubai Sports Council and they will foot the bill for any differences that we might have as far as budget is concerned.”
The meeting rubber-stamped the appointment of Amina Taher and Sara Baqir to the board of Tennis Emirates, which now includes women for the first time.
Taher, who is the head of community engagement at Mubadala and has spearheaded programmes like the Mubadala Tennis in Schools programme as well as several community projects that accompany the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, will be responsible for the Development Council within Tennis Emirates where she aims to target the youth of the UAE and encourage them to take up the sport.
“It’s an honour yet a huge responsibility to be part of the UAE tennis federation,” she said. “What I think I’d like to add is how can we promote tennis among our community in the UAE as a whole, so we’re talking about the geographic and demographic reach.
"And at the same time how can we have Emirati youth take tennis not just as a hobby but also as a profession. We want to see the next Omar Behroozian in terms of women and men.”
Alongside Taher, Baqir will take responsibility for the Women’s Tennis Development Council. One of the biggest challenges facing the federation is the absence of a bespoke facility where UAE national players can practise.
While plans of building or procuring a national tennis centre for the federation are not in place, the board are hoping to use courts in various clubs across the UAE to cater for the players.
“We are trying our best and Sheikh Hasher has presented some ideas of how to go about it,” says Falaqnaz. “We will have various places hopefully where our players can practise but an actual tennis centre for the UAE, that is not there yet and we hope we can get it soon.
“At the moment our players practise in different courts.”
Salah Tahlak, the tournament director of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and the financial director at Tennis Emirates, hopes clubs will cooperate and provide regular slots for national team players.
Tahlak said: “It’s important to have courts available and as for the Aviation Club, I will do my best effort to make it happen. The clubs in Dubai along with the Dubai Sports Council also have to make it happen.”
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