Tennis is one of the most widely played games in Qatar and therefore it enjoys immense popularity here. The growth of tennis in Qatar started on a small scale and then it started attracting large numbers of people. It was just a common game earlier played by the common man for keeping himself fit. But, how the game acquired greatness and esteem is something not very clearly known. The growth in popularity started in April 1984 when the Qatar Tennis Federation was established. It soon became a fashionable sport all over the country. It was a game which transcended all barriers of sex, religion and nationality. Youngsters who had talent were screened and selected and they were given the best training possible by their national and international players. Qatar tennis and Qatar Open became synonymous with popularity.
Within a period of three years, i.e., from 1987 the game of tennis caught everyone’s fancy in Qatar and it became a craze everywhere – it could be said that it became a national obsession. Qatar tennis and Qatar Open became so popular that a number of sports clubs such as Al Arabi, Al Saad, and Al Rayyan were started to promote the game. You can also play tennis outside Qatar at Al Khor and Dukhan city.
The first ATP Qatar Open for men was held in January 1993 and USD 1 million was awarded to the winner of the tournament. The game of tennis became so popular that even ladies started evincing interest in the game. This led the Qatar Tennis Federation to organize the first ladies championship in 2001 and the prize money then awarded was USD 600,000. Looking at all these events, it will not be a fore drawn conclusion to say that tennis is the most popular sport in Qatar. Qatar tennis and Qatar Open have proved by the number of tournaments which are being played now that the game is immensely admired and accepted.
The Qatar Exxon Mobil Tennis Open for Men is being sponsored by the Qatar National Bank since the past 15 years. The tournament is held every year during the period from December to February. The bank has always supported the activities of the Qatar Tennis Federation. QNB has placed Qatar on the world map by extending its unstinted support in popularizing the game. Qatar National Bank will be the official bank for the men’s and women’s upcoming tours of the Association of Tennis Professionals to be held in Doha.
The Qatar ExxonMobil Open Tennis tournament is played on the outdoor hard courts. The 2009 tournament took place at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex in Doha from January 5th to January 10th 2009. The prize money awarded for the tournament was USD 1,049,000.
Qatar has made its presence in tennis known in the world arena. This recognition of tennis has thrown open the doors to many tennis clubs where both the young and the old join with equal zest and fervor to master the game. Qatar would like to generate awareness and create interest in the people, especially youngsters so that Qatar can be assured of future local champions who can put Qatar Tennis and Qatar Open on the international map.
Tennis is a game that is very widely played and followed all over the world. People in Qatar also exhibit the same zeal and enthusiasm towards the game. Most of the tournaments which are held at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex have witnessed participation of world-famous and renowned players. This apart, there were also about 120 referees who participated in the event. The Qatar tennis and Qatar Open tournaments also had a wide range of activities comprising of exhibitions, children’s paintings and a host of other events including a food court. So, do you think you can make it to the Qatar Open next year?