The World Tennis League promises ‘the greatest show on court’ featuring 16 World class players, plus 6 Global performers over 6 days from 19 – 24 December in Dubai, and Novak Djokovic and Iga Swiatek are confirmed as leading the field in what will be the final appearance by both this year.
I like it most when tennis connects people and when it’s true entertainment. When it’s combined with a great show and music, it’s even better, so that’s the reason why I’m excited to join this year’s World Tennis League. I’m happy that together with other top players we’ll introduce tennis as fun to new audiences. I can’t wait! Iga Świątek
A mixed-gender team event, the World Tennis League, which is an exhibition event, also sees Alexander Zverev, Nick Kyrgios, Dominic Thiem, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Gael Monfils and Grigor Dimitrov invited, while reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina will be joined by former World No 2s Anett Kontaveit, Aryna Sabalenka and Paula Badosa in a high-quality field of players that also includes former US Open winner Bianca Andreescu.
Simona Halep, though, who had been set to return to the match court for the event, is now provisionally suspended from all sanctioned events after a positive doping test performed at the US Open, and her participation is therefore questionable.
“The World Tennis League will be an event like no other,” Chairman of World Tennis League Rajesh Banga said recently. “It brings a unique and engaging new format to the game of tennis, offering a spectacular mix of sport and entertainment together.
“We can’t wait to welcome fans from around the globe for this momentous event that hails a new era for tennis.”
Djokovic has won the Dubai Tennis Championships 5 times and is looking forward to visiting the Emirates.
“This new event is exciting, there’s no doubt about it,” said Djokovic. “I absolutely love playing in Dubai, I’ve had a lot of success there over the years and really enjoy the fans.
“This is something different, and it’s going to be great being a part of it.”
Swiatek may have lost in the 2nd-round when the WTA stopped off in Dubai earlier this season, but she has since gone on to enjoy a unique and record-breaking season as the World No 1.
The young Pole won the French Open and US Open titles, and has looked unstoppable at times.
“I like it most when tennis connects people and when it’s true entertainment,” Swiatek said. “When it’s combined with a great show and music, it’s even better, so that’s the reason why I’m excited to join this year’s World Tennis League.
“I’m happy that together with other top players we’ll introduce tennis as fun to new audiences. I can’t wait!”
The WTL is scheduled to debut at the Coca-Cola Arena, a 17, 000 capacity facility on the City Walk in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, where the team-based format will see two-set matches played across men’s and women’s singles matches and a mixed doubles, with a 10-point tiebreak set to decide the final outcome as needed.
The full field has yet to be announced ahead of the draw, which will determine how the 16-player line-up will be split into 4 teams of 4 players each for the Round Robin format early in the tournament.
The top two teams will then do battle on the final day to decide the overall winner of the World Tennis League in Dubai.
Team names will have a raptor theme, with the 16 players representing the Falcons, the Hawks, the Kites and the Eagles.
The new World Tennis League is backed by the owners of the World Tennis Championship, UAE sovereign fund Mubadala, and should not be confused with the World Tennis Championship exhibition event, which takes place in Abu Dhabi from 16-18 December.