KUWAIT: Rafael Nadal of Spain (right) holds his trophy after winning an exhibition game against compatriot David Ferrer, to inaugurate the Rafa Nadal Academy Kuwait, at Shaikh Jaber Al Abdullah Al Jaber Al Sabah International Tennis Complex in the Kuwaiti capital on February 5, 2020. – Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: Sheikh Jaber Al-Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah International Tennis Complex located in Al-Zahraa has been inaugurated and Rafa Nadal Academy at the facility was launched on Wednesday. It is the largest tennis academy in the Middle East launched under the patronage of Kuwait Tennis Federation Honorary President Sheikh Jaber Al-Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

This came during a ceremony to open the complex and launch the academy in the presence of National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem, Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Mohammad Al-Jabri, President of Kuwait Olympic Committee Sheikh Fahad Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Director General of Public Authority for Sport Humoud Flaiteh and his deputy Saqar Al-Mulla, Hawalli Governor Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Sabah and a number of Sheikhs, officials and dignitaries.

The ceremony witnessed an exhibition match held between Spain’s Rafael Nadal and his fellow challenger David Ferrer. Nadal won 19 titles at the four Grand Slam championships. Speaking in a statement on the sidelines of the ceremony, Jabri said that the academy would contribute to improving and reviving grassroots tennis in Kuwait through training players and national teams under the supervision of well-experienced trainers.

This will help make further sports achievements and disseminating the game on the local level, he added. The academy would be a key sport edifice as it is the only branch of the main facility in Spain, he noted. It will help attract a new generation to make Kuwait a hub for the game on the regional level, and raise awareness on this game, he pointed out.

Meanwhile, President of Arab and Kuwait Tennis Federations Sheikh Ahmad Jaber Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah said, in his opening speech, that the academy would allure players and the lovers of the game in Kuwait. The edifice is fruit of partnership between the public and private sectors and in line with His Highness the Amir’s ‘New Kuwait Vision 2035’ vision that will help place Kuwait on the global map of tennis.

Furthermore, Mohammad Al-Marzouq, Chairman of Tamdeen Group, which launched the academy in cooperation with the main academy in Span, said the aim of this facility is to prepare a promising generation of players and developing their talents to be champions. He added cooperation with the academy in Spain would boost and develop the game in Kuwait and the Middle East region.

The ceremony also involved some performances of the Kuwaiti national team juniors. The complex includes 18 tennis courts, the inside main court accommodates 5000 spectators, while the outside one’s capacity is 1500.The complex also contains a hotel with 300 rooms, and special utilities for tennis as well as Kuwait Tennis Federation’s headquarters. The complex will host the first championship next April, as part of the third Gulf sports games.

The facility, built on an area of 70,000 square meters, contains several utilities and services regarding the game. The courts are well equipped in line with world-class standards. The Kuwait Tennis Federation, in cooperation with the academy, is set to organize local tournaments to benefit national teams to take part in international events and raise Kuwait’s status in international arenas. – KUNA