Saturday, January 09, 2016

Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2016


The Men's tennis tournament was this week and a friend of mine had tickets to the quarter finals so I went along.



It was great timing because both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic would be playing matches that evening. Djokovic was the only one of the “Big Four” that I had never seen play (just missed seeing one of his matches last year).

The tournament gets more and more popular by the year and the stadium had a lot of people. In the past I doubt there would have been half as many. The food court area was packed as well.




So I witnessed Nadal dispatch his opponent in three tight sets, while Djokovic had an easier time with a straight-sets win.



Both players would eventually go on to face each other in the finals tonight. I received a call around 5:15pm – it was my friend who invited me to the quarter-finals. He had two tickets to the finals and suddenly couldn’t go so he asked if I wanted them. Hell ya! I called up another friend of mine and we were off to the finals. Better seats too!

Unfortunately the finals started around 6pm so by the time we got there and got in (check out the crowd at the gate) . . .



. . . we missed the, rather quick, first set (6-1 Djokovic). At least we watched the rest of the match. It was great to get a chance to watch a Nadal v Djokovic match but Nadal struggled and Djokovic dispatched him 6-2 in the second set to take the match pretty quickly.

Then there was a crazy closing ceremony with a singer, dancers and lots of fire. It was neat but I found it quite odd, most tennis tournaments, even Wimbledon, just bring out a stage and hand out the trophies, Qatar decided to have a small extravaganza first. I think it would have been better to have it before the match, not after, but given the pyrotechnics that would not have been possible as it did scuff the court a bit.



Anyway the players then gave speeches and accepted their awards. Given the interest in the match there were a ton of photographers, and within minutes major newspapers worldwide were posting the results. It’s great that the organizers finally got their big final, the years I remember they always brought in two big names then one gets knocked out in the earlier rounds, so the tournament never gets the big match-up.

Congrats to Novak Djokovic for a dominant performance!





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