2015 isn’t a Footie World Cup oR Olympics year, but don’t be fooled into thinking there isn’t any sport to glue your eyes to this summer, because there's plenty of quality action ahead. Check out our guide to the best matches, tournaments and races that’ll be showing on a screen near you soon.
Abu Dhabi is a top city for golf enthusiasts, and you’ll even find players out on the course during the hottest months of the year (if you are going to do this, be responsible. Wear a hat and sunscreen, take a lot of water with you and try to play as early or late in the day as possible) thanks to some awesome discounts clubs are offering from now until September.
Don’t worry if that all sounds a bit much though, because summer is also the perfect season to stay in and watch how the pros do it instead. Three of the four Major tournaments of the year take place between now and the middle of August, starting with the US Open this weekend. Martin Kaymer is looking to defend the title he won at Pinehurst in 2014, but will have to withstand the charge of in-form American Jordan Speith, who has been in red-hot form all year and captured his first major title at the 2015 US Masters.
World number one Rory McIlroy has been less prolific in 2015, but starts every tournament he enters as the favourite to win it, and the long, links course set up of Chambers Bay, the host of this year’s US Open, is tailored to McIlory’s strengths.
With the quest to add another US Open over, Rory will be looking to defend Majors of his own won in 2014, starting with The Open Championship in July, and followed by The USPGA Championship in mid-August. This year’s Open will be held at the home of golf, St. Andrews (as is customary every five years), a win here would add a further accolade to McIlroy’s already impressive trophy cabinet.
Two of the last three Open’s played at St. Andrews have been won by a certain Tiger Woods, who may see this tournament as perhaps his last opportunity to add to his collection of 14 Major Championship victories. However, Woods’ last win at St. Andrews was 2005, and in his last tournament he carded his worst ever round as a pro (85), so the likelihood of seeing Tiger rolling back the years seems remote.
• US Open June 18-21. The Open Championship July 16-19. USPGA Championship August 13-16.
The 2015 Cricket World Cup may well already be in the books, but for many cricket fans this summer’s upcoming action has even more at stake. The sport’s two oldest rivals, England and Australia, will do battle for the greatest prize in Test cricket, The Ashes.
England have won the last three Ashes series they have hosted, as they will do again in 2015, but it’s the Aussies who currently hold the Ashes Urn (awarded to the winning side after every series) after thumping England 5-0 in Australia in 2013/14. England are also coming into the series on a terrible run of bad form. Drawn Test series in the West Indies and at home to New Zealand, not to mention a dismal showing at The World Cup, are proof to many pundits and fans that they aren't currently up to competing with an Australian side who, in stark contrast, are flying. Michael Clarke's side will be touching down in the UK full of confidence, off the back of World Cup triumph.
Five Test matches, five One Day Internationals and one Twenty20 International will be contested between the two sides throughout the summer. Whether you prefer the long or short format of the game, there is going to be intense cricket on your television all summer long that you won’t want to miss.
Elsewhere Pakistan are touring Sri Lanka, and South Africa will visit Bangladesh for both ODIs and Test matches. South Africa will then return home to face New Zealand in a One Day Series that will close out the international cricket calendar for the summer.
• England vs Australia Ashes Tests July 8-12, July 16-20, July 29-August, August 6-10, August 20-24. England vs Australia T20I August 31. England vs Australia ODIs September 3, 5, 8, 11, 13. Ireland vs Australia T20I August 27. Sri Lanka vs Pakistan Tests June 17-21, June 25-29, July 3-7. Sri Lanka vs Pakistan ODIs July 11, 15, 19, 22, 26. Sri Lanka vs Pakistan T20Is July 30, August 1. Bangladesh vs South Africa T20I’s July 5, 7. Bangladesh vs South Africa ODI’s 10, 12, 15. Bangladesh vs South Africa Tests July 21-25, July 30-August 3. South Africa vs New Zealand T20Is August 14, 16. South Africa ODIs 19, 23, 26.
Don’t think cycling is much of a spectator sport? You’d be surprised how mesmeric watching a pack on guys on bikes pedalling down a seemingly endless road quickly becomes. Trust us, once you get a taste of the drama and tactics that goes with one of the Grand Tours races you’ll be hooked for the full three weeks of competition.
Of course, the biggest race of the summer will be the Tour de France. 2014’s tour was a damp squib after former champions and pre-race favourites Alberto Contador and Chris Froome retired during the race’s early stages. Vincenzo Nibali, the sport’s other biggest name, took the lead on just the second day of racing and finished the tour with a comfortable victory of over seven minutes from Frenchman Jean-Christophe Peraud.
Froome and Contador are back this year though, and have chips on their respective shoulders. Froome is looking to wrestle back the title he won in 2013, while Contador, the 2007 and 2009 champ, is attempting to be the first man ever to win all three Grand Tours in the same year. He has already captured the Giro D’Italia in 2015, leaving just the Tour de France and Vuelta A Espana to go.
• Tour de France July 4-26. Vuelta a Espana August 22-Sept 13.
The French Open provided spectacular drama in recent weeks, but now the Championship has concluded eyes of tennis fans will be turning from clay to grass and that means the Wimbledon Championships, for many the biggest tennis event of the year.
Every major name in the sport will be in the field. In the mens competition world number one Novak Djokovic will be favoured by many to retain the title he won for a second time in 2014, despite being thoroughly outplayed in the French Open final by Stan Wawrinka.
Fan favourite and former ‘Best player on the planet’ Rafael Nadal has had a wretched 2015 to date, and grass isn’t the Spaniard’s favoured surface. He hasn’t made it past the last 16 at Wimbledon since 2011, it would be a surprise to see a challenge from him this year.
Roger Federer, perhaps the greatest player of all time, rolled back the year to make last year’s final, but with only one major victory to him name since 2010 there’s a strong sense that his time has passed.
Brit Andy Murray and new French Open champ Stan Wawrinka will likely prove to be Djokovic’s main obstacles to retaining the title. Former champ Murray took Djokovic to five sets in the semi-finals at Roland Garros and Wawrinka beat the Serb handily in the final so neither should be intimidated by the world number one if their paths cross at SW19.
In the women’s tournament it is always tough to look past Serena Williams, who won her 20th Major title at the French Open despite suffering from flu all week. Williams has won the last three Majors, but her rivals may take some solace from the fact that she has been bounced out early from three of the last Wimbledon Championships. Former winners Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova will fancy their chances of doing well again in 2015, as will last year’s finalist Eugenie Bourchard.
• Flushing Meadows, New York, will host the US Open at the end of the summer.
The Wimbledon Championships June 29-July 12. US Open August 31-September 13.
A sport that’s close to the heart of many Abu Dhabi residents, Formula 1 won’t be slowing down over the summer (ok, actually it will break for a month at the end of July, but it isn’t ready to hit the pits quite yet).
This weekend it’s the turn of the Austrian Grand Prix, and things are really starting to heat up in the Driver’s Championship. Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are trading blows at the top of the standings, with Ferrari’s four time World Champion Sebastian Vettel lurking closely behind.
After Austria it’s the British Grand Prix up next, where Hamilton will be looking to stretch his slender lead over Rosberg in front of an adoring home crowd. The Hungarian Grand Prix takes place at the end of July and will be the last race before the summer break.
• Austrian Grand Prix June 19-21. British Grand Prix July 3-5. Hungarian Grand Prix July 24-26.
The no getting away from the fact that this summer is much quieter than 2014 on the soccer front. However, the Women’s World Cup has just kicked off in Canada, and if that isn’t enough for you then take heart from the fact that the new domestic seasons are only just around the corner. The Premier League kicks off again August 8, with Spain’s La Liga commencing on August 15. Serie A is set to begin August 23, and the UAE’s own AGL will kick off August 20-22.