The UAE will host Expo 2020!
  • Arabic
Supported by the UAE National Media Council
We are in the process of developing and improving our website, and we invite you to participate in our brief survey to measure the level of your satisfaction
Satisfaction Survey For UAE Interact Website
رغبة منا بالتعرف على مستوى رضاكم عن موقعنا وبهدف تطويره وتحسينه، فقد قمنا بتصميم استبيان سريع لقياس مدى الرضا عن موقع دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة روعي في تصميم الاستبيان أن يكون قصيرا وسريعا كي لا نطيل عليكم، وعليه نرجو منكم التكرم باستكماله عن طريق الرابط التالي
استبيان رضا المتعاملين عن موقع دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة

Tennis legend Monica Seles in face-off with Abu Dhabi pupils

posted on 06/03/2014: 2138 views

Few children ever get the chance to impress a tennis legend on the court – but on Wednesday that's just what Zayed Elchouemi did.

Standing in front of about 1,000 of his peers from Aldar Academies schools, the nine-year-old was the first to face off against one of tennis's greats, the nine-time Grand Slam champion Monica Seles.

Seles rallied with pupils on the court at Zayed Sports City just hours after arriving in the capital as the new face of Mubadala's Inspirational Women 2014.

The social development campaign is meant to promote healthy, active lifestyles and an appreciation for tennis amongst the younger generation.

"We really believe that it is important to invest in future generations and really important to promote health and well-being, basically a healthy lifestyle and to be fit,” said Nadine Hassan, head of Mubadala's social development and partnership.

Mubadala is an Abu Dhabi-based investment and development company that hosts an annual namesake all-star tennis championship.

"There's no better way to do that than to bring somebody like Monica Seles who is not only a legendary tennis star, but also extremely prominent when it comes to being a health care and well-being advocate,” Ms Hassan said.

Seles began playing tennis with her father in the car park of her family's apartment complex in Yugoslavia before earning a scholarship to train in the United States. By the time she was 16 she had already become the youngest player to win the French Open and at 17, she was the No 1 player in the world.

Her career was interrupted for two years after she suffered injuries from a bizarre on-court attack from an opponent's fan in Germany in 1993. When she announced her retirement from professional tennis in 2008, she had won nine Grand Slam titles, 53 singles championships and six doubles tournaments.

"I think most of you are too young to remember me playing professional tennis, so it was fun for me to see your reaction as you were watching the video,” said Seles, referring to a biographical video of her life played for the children.

"Hopefully you will continue playing tennis. I believe it's a sport of a lifetime. It's so much fun, great friendships come out of it. It's good for your health, mind, body, fitness. So it's an all-around win-win combination,” she said.

For Zayed, an American in Year 5 at Al Yasmina School in Abu Dhabi, the experience of hitting against Seles and eliciting positive feedback from her was "so fun”.

"Hopefully I can be a professional star like her,” he said. "Playing with a professional who won nine Grand Slams is something really good. I'm playing with a legend. That's something, wow.”

Lauren Europa, a 12-year-old South African in Year 7 at Al Bateen, said it was thrilling to be on the same court as Seles.

"She's like a legend for all other tennis players,” Lauren said. "You can find out how they were inspired and take their inspiration and put it into your life goals.”

Seles will meet students at Zayed University on Thursday and will host a tennis clinic with female fans at the palace of Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalid Al Nahyan on Friday. Her visit is meant to coincide with International Women's Day on Saturday.

Nilay Ozral, CEO of Aldar Academies, a sponsor of Seles's visit, said: "We are thrilled that our partnership with Mubadala enables the students to meet one of the world's greatest sportswomen.

"Monica Seles is a role model for all, not only for her prowess as a tennis champion but also as someone who has faced up to, and conquered, great adversity.” – The National - Read more:

Follow us: @TheNationalUAE on Twitter | on Facebook


10 January 2017 Andy Murray heads line-up for Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships 25th anniversary
29 December 2016 World tennis stars arrive in UAE for Mubadala World Tennis Championship
27 November 2016 Tennis Festival arrives at Zayed Sports City
18 July 2016 UAE to bank on the young brigade
21 February 2016 Sara Errani, an unexpected winner, wins with a flourish in a flash at unpredictable Dubai

Most Read