(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Gasquet joins two former world numbers ones in novak djokovic and caroline wozniacki at the dubai-based squad.
sachin gadoya; dr ahmad sharif; eric m.gottschalk; abdulrahman falaknaz; mahesh bhupathi and sawan ravani during the press conference at hamdan bin mohamed bin rashid sports complex in dubai on tuesday. — kt photos by juidin bernarrd
richard gasquet has been drafted in as the latest inclusion to the uae royals franchise as they target the international premier tennis league (iptl) challenge trophy later on this year.
the french world number 14 confirmed his interest in participating in the inaugural edition of this revolutionary concept last week in the run-up to the wimbledon championships and the royals moved swiftly to sign him.
gasquet joins two former world numbers ones in novak djokovic and caroline wozniacki at the dubai-based squad which is supplemented further by janko tipsarevic and nenad zimonjic.
goran ivanisevic and martina hingis will be the uae royals’ representatives in the legends and mixed doubles categories respectively while tunisia’s malek jaziri adds an arabic local flavour to the multicultural mix overall.
“the team is competitive and they want to win and richard gasquet’s signing gives you a very competitive player on the team” uae royals ceo eric gottschalk said of gasquet who is the fourth frenchman among the four franchise teams alongside gael monfils fabrice santoro (both indian aces) and jo-wilfried tsonga (manila mavericks)
“with him janko tipsarevic — who is currently still injured — and novak djokovic they will be the three main singles players that we will rely on.”
many of the uae royals squad have regularly competed in the dubai duty free tennis championships in recent seasons.
it’s hoped that association in turn gives them an affinity and familiarity with the emirate that stands the franchise in good stead across the four legs of this competition.
“during the draft in march i asked (iptl founder and managing director) mahesh (bhupathi): ‘how can you pick up the best team which can win us the trophy and — most importantly — us1m’ said one of the uae roya’s five co-owners at ace ventures sachin gadoya.
“we sat through it together and picked up a very good team. most of our key players have played in dubai they all enjoy playing here in the emirate some of them are former world number ones and one is currently the world number two (djokovic).
“i met one of our marquee players novak djokovic last week and i spoke to him about our uae royals team.
“he mentioned that he is most excited about playing in dubai and — most importantly — for the uae royals.”alexkhaleejtimes.com
views from the uae royals camp
novak djokovic: “it’s a revolutionary idea in a way as it’s going to change the image of the sport to an extent because we’re going to have another team competition besides davis cup and fed cup and i’m looking forward to playing in it and being a part of that competition. it’s going to be played in asia which is a growing tennis market and one of the biggest markets in the world so hopefully the people can respond there to the tennis players in a positive way. it’s a brave idea and i really think that it’s going to help the popularity of our sport even more.
“after winning three consecutive championships in dubai the city holds a special place in my heart. i’m glad to be representing this treasure of the uae across asia and hope it continues to be my lucky charm.”
janko tipsarevic: “it’s young; it’s fresh but — in another way — it is also serious because that month even though we don’t have tournaments and points to count it’s a really important time to prepare for the next year.”
caroline wozniacki: “it’s a really cool concept to play as a team in so many different cities in asia. you get to travel and the fans get to see all of the best players play. it’s a great concept. i’m looking forward to play. it’s fun and it’s a good way for everyone to get interested in and excited about it straight away. you know that when you go to a team they really wanted you there and i’m sure they’ll take really good care of the players and i want all of us to play our best tennis.”