Former top 25 ATP Moroccan player Karim Alami is the tournament director of Doha YEC
No free tickets for top tennis event
IN A major departure from tradition, tennis fans will have to shell out cash to watch the Sony Ericsson season-ending championships to be held at the Khalifa Complex from November 4.
New tournament director and former Moroccan player Karim Alami told reporters that it was time the “culture” of freebies was broken.
“It’s not good, this culture of free tickets to watch top class action. We have decided to do away with this practice,” Alami said.
However, Alami added that tickets will be moderately priced with the cheapest going for as little as QR10 per day.
“The cheapest tickets will cost only 10 riyals going up to QR350 for prime spots just close to the court,” he said.
Tickets for QR 20, QR50 and are also available depending on the location of the seats.
The world’s top eight players will take part in the $4.5mn event, the highest prize fund for any tournament organised in Qatar to date.
The tickets for the tournament are being imported from America and will carry a chip to prevent fraud and security problems.
“The ticket in itself is a collector’s item that can be treasured for life,” said Alami.
Alami said there would be plenty of prizes to be won by spectators including dozens of Sony Ericsson mobile phones.
After each match players will hit balls into the stands and spectators who catch them would win mobile handsets. Air tickets are also on offer.
“This is the biggest tennis tournament Qatar is going to host and spectators will surely enjoy it,” said Alami.
The Centre Court at the Khalifa Complex is being given a facelift for the tournament in order to accommodate 7,000 spectators according to the conditions laid down by the WTA Tour. Earlier the seating capacity at the court was 4,800.
The top eight players among women will battle it out in a round robin format with the two top players from each group going into the semi-finals.
As of now Elena Dementieva, Jelena Jankovic, Serena Williams, Dinara Safina and Ana Ivanovic have qualified for the event/. The world’s top four doubles pairs will be also seen in action.
With five players having secured their ticket to Doha, only three more spots remain up for grabs in the singles draw of the prestigious year-end event. Currently Maria Sharapova sits in sixth spot with 2,515 points, followed by Venus Williams with 2,106 points and Svetlana Kuznetsova with 2,022 points.
Sharapova, however, is a doubtful starter as she has been out of action with a shoulder injury for almost two months.
In the Doubles Race to Doha it was Cara Black and Liezel Huber, the 2008 US Open Doubles Champions, to first qualify for the year-end Sony Ericsson Championships. US Open semifinalists and Roland Garros champions Anabel Medina Garrigues are currently ranked in second place with 2,733 points; the current third and fourth-placed teams are the Ukrainian sisters and Australian Open Champions, Alona and Kateryna Bondarenko with 2,346 points and Chuang Chia-Jung and Chan Yung-Jan of Chinese Taipei with 2,196 points – only 33 points ahead of the Czech-Australian team of Kveta Peschke and Rennae Stubbs with 2,163 points.
The Championships were first played in 1972 and since then the event has been held in such notable venues as Madison Square Garden, New York City, the Olympiahalle in Munich, Staples Center in Los Angeles, and the Recinto Ferial Casa de Campo in Madrid. (With inputs from wtatour.com)