Monday, 19 August 2019 01:35 GMT

Qatar grooming youngsters for bigger stage, says Zainal

(MENAFN - The Peninsula) By Armstrong Vas I The Peninsula

Qatar Tennis Federation (QTF) General Secretary Tariq Darwish Zainal is hoping that Qatar's policy of promoting youth will bear fruits in the coming years with one of its own qualifying for the main draw of a WTA event.

Speaking to reporters after the Qatar Total Open draw ceremony, the QTF official yesterday said: 'We have a strategy and a plan to have one of our players to be in the main draw of an WTA event, and we are supporting our players to achieve that goal and we hope in the coming years our players will feature in the main draw.

Yesterday, Qatar's Mubaraka Al Naimi lost in the qualifying round of the Qatar Total Open and Zainal said it was a learning experience and good international exposure for the local girl.

'We have a upcoming a Qatari player Mubaraka Al Naimi playing in the qualifying round. She is a very young player and although she lost today it was more of an learning experience for her, to play against a tough player and get experience and it is a also a good exposure for her to face international players, he said.

Zainal said besides supporting the local talent QTF has been supporting the Arab players and in the current edition two from the region have been handed wild cards.

'We hope two players from the Arab world, Oman's Fatima Al Nabhani and Ons Jabeur of Tunisia, who have been given wild cards reach the next round, Zainal said.

Fatima will face Czech Republic's Barbora Strycova in the first round while Ons will begin her campaign in Qatar with a first round match against former champion Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain.
Meanwhile Zainal said the this week's Qatar Total Open will be an exciting tournament with some of the leading players making their way to Doha.

'We have got the big names and top players. We have many players from the top 20. We have the three former champions who will be in Doha, Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova and Carla Suárez Navarro. And we also have Caroline Wozniacki, who has been runner-up for two years in 2011 and 2017. We also have Barbora Strycova and Angelique Kerber. I think we will have a great tournament this week, Zainal said.

The two-time runner up from Denmark and currently ranked World No.10, Wozniacki, is one of the two wild cards given by the organisers for the top-20 ranked players, the second one is Elina Svitolina of Ukraine.


Qatar grooming youngsters for bigger stage, says Zainal

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