Time Out gets the skinny on the tennis legends headed for our shores and the impact they're making on the sport.
Goran Ivanisevic 37, Croatia Former world number 2 A self-pronounced genius, Ivanisevic is as notorious for his bizarre one-liners (once walking away from defeat at Wimbledon with the words, ‘I go kill myself’) as his formidable powerhouse serve. Scooping the Wimbledon crown in 2001, Ivanisevic has won 22 top-level singles titles and nine doubles titles in his career, along with being the only player in history to win Wimbledon as a wildcard entry.
Paul Haarhuis 48, Netherlands Former doubles world number 1 Having taken last year’s Legends trophy in a triumphant win against Jim Courier, Haarhuis is keen to hold onto that title for another year. Best remembered for his success in doubles with fellow Dutchman Jacco Etlingh, Haarhuis also has the accolade for the best winning record against Pete Sampras in the singles.
Wayne Ferreira 37, South Africa Former world number 6 Though never breaking into the top three during his career, Ferreira holds the record for the most consecutive Grand Slam tournament appearances – an incredible 56 times in the course of his career. Mansour Bahrami 52, Iran Former world number 6 Bahrami battled to get on the courts in his youth, having to improvise using pans and broom handles to practice. This unorthodox start has given the Iranian player a unique, flamboyant style of play, famed for his crowd-pleasing between-the-legs trick shots and on-court humour.
If you harbour ambitions to make a Legend of yourself, these Dubai trainers offer one-on-one programmes to perfect even the most uncoordinated swing.
Clark Francis Tennis (04 282 4540) www.cftennis.com. Group (Dhs800 for 15 week programme) and private lessons (Dhs1,400 for a 10 week programme) throughout the city, including at The Aviation Club and Grand Hyatt hotel.
Dubai Marine Beach (04 361 1111) Jumeirah 1 opp. Jumeirah Mosque. Lessons, private or up to three people, are Dhs180 per person for 50 minutes
Excel Sport Services (050 794 3656) www.excelsportsuae.com The 45-minute private lessons cost Dhs150, group lessons are Dhs50 per person, for up to six people. Classes operate throughout the city, including Safa Club, Al Murooj Rotana, Arabian Ranches and Jebel Ali