Monday, February 28, 2011

Egypt to host the ITF World Coaches Conference

Port Ghalib

According to the latest ITF monthly newsletter for coaches for February 2011, Egypt has been chosen to host the 2011 Worldwide Coaches Conference at the International Convention Centre in Port Ghalib, Red Sea.

The conference will take place between the 20th and the 24th of November this year at the wonderful Red Sea venue.

The conference takes place every 2 years and was last held in Valencia, Spain where 2002 Roland Garros champion and current Spain Davis Cup coach, Albert Costa, highlighted the list of guest speakers.

Times newspaper tennis correspondent, Neil Harman, was wondering on Twitter whether Egypt was a wise choice from the ITF and I'd like to assure him that yes, Egypt is a fabulous choice for the conference, Port Ghalib is a beautiful place and that Egypt is bouncing back higher than ever and I expect it to take the world of sport by storm over the upcoming years.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

2012 Calendar Shows New WTA Event In CAIRO

I was watching tennis earlier today mourning the fact that I am not in Dubai covering the tournament as initially planned, and instead I was on my couch in Cairo, worrying about "other things".

I was watching Sergey Bubkra Jr. playing an ailing Ivan Ljubicic in the Dubai first round and couldn't help but be impressed by the young Ukrainian, whose pole-vaulting legend of a father I admire so dearly.

Bubka Jr. won the match after Ljubicic was forced to retire with an injury so I switched the channel from Dubai Sport to Al Jazeera Sport and caught Lucie Safarova's upset over Agnieszka Radwanska in the first round in Qatar.

I later logged on Twitter and caught Anastasia Rodionova's tweet saying:

"I'm bored!!!!! I think Doha can win the award of the most boring tournament of the year!"

Year in, year out, I watch the action in Qatar and Dubai and I dream of the day Cairo (or anywhere else in Egypt for that matter) could host an ATP or a WTA event. There used to be a Cairo Open at some point in time, but that was ages ago, not in my time, and being the tennis fanatic everyone knows I am, I almost felt that it was unfair that there was no Egypt Open. Such amazing tennis weather going to waste I thought!

But then I stumbled upon this amazing fact, and my day just got better! Matt Cronin of TennisReporters.net had tweeted this last month and somehow I missed it and only read it today:

"Just heard new Cairo WTA event will be on grass, played prior to Wimby. Wow."

I quickly googled the 2012 WTA calendar which was released on January 6th and there it was, lying between the 2012 Roland Garros and the 2012 Wimbledon, was the NewGiza International, a grass WTA event scheduled to take place in Cairo 2 weeks before Wimbledon next year. HALLE-freakin'-LUJAH !!!!

Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, Anna Kournikova, Maria Sanchez-Lorenzo & Olga Barabanschikova posing in front of the Pyramids back in 1998 when they played an exhibition in Cairo

I have a meeting at the Egyptian Tennis Federation soon and will try to get more information about this because in my 20+ years of living in Cairo, I can honestly say I haven't laid my eyes on a single grass court, but the tournament name clearly implies that there is going to be one in New Giza, and I am psyched about this.

So Dubai, Doha and Fès, welcome the latest addition to the Middle East tennis calendar, the one and only, CAIRO OPEN :)