Tie Break Tens ‘break’through in Dubai


Tie Break Tens heading to Coca-Cola Arena Image: Tie Break Tens

Tie Break Tens, the fast-paced, short-form tennis format, has announced that the exciting international tennis series will be heading to Dubai this October as an annual event on the Emirate’s calendar.

The ‘Arabian Business’ stated that this will mark the first time the region has staged an event from this short-format tennis series which launched in 2015 at the 5,272-capacity Royal Albert Hall, London. The event will take place at Dubai’s home of live entertainment, Coca-Cola Arena, the first time it has hosted a tennis event, in the heart of the City on the evening of October 22nd.

The Tie Break Tens is a tennis format in which only tie-break matches are played. There are no games or sets, only tie-break matches and the winner is the first player to reach 10 points and lead by a margin of two. Most other traditional rules of tennis are the same.

The Coca-Cola Arena is a multipurpose arena located in the City Walk in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The venue opened on June 6th, 2019. It has a capacity of 17,000.

The ‘Arabian Business’ further stated that Tie Break Tens (TB10) has previously staged hugely successful events in major global Cities, including London (UK), Vienna (Austria), Madrid (Spain), Melbourne (Australia), New York City (US), and Indian Wells (California, US) and features international tennis stars from across the world. Building on this international success, Tie Break Tens Dubai will be a new destination to host a tournament as part of the 2021 series.

At its launch, TB10 Dubai has announced the participation of former top-10 ranked men’s star and renowned entertainer, Gael Monfils. TB10 Dubai will commence with the men’s tournament, with plans to expand with a women’s tournament in the near future.

In previous years, the TB10 tournament has attracted the world’s best players including the recently crowned Wimbledon Champion Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Serena Williams, Elina Svitolina, and Rafael Nadal.

TB10, the only officially recognized short format of tennis, is a quick-fire version of the sport that anyone can play and is thrilling to watch live. Unlike conventional tennis, Tie Break Tens matches are comprised solely of tie breaks – no games, no sets, just exhilarating 10-point breakers in which every point counts.

The tournaments are held over one evening and involve eight players competing in a knock-out format with a winner-takes-all prize of AED 500,000.

Averred Jimmy Poon, Tournament Director, TB10 Dubai, “We really believe that Tie Break Tens is paving the way for the future of tennis, and whether you are an avid tennis fan, a young tennis player or just seeking an entertaining evening watching sport of the highest quality, TB10s events energize fans of the sport at all levels.”

Added Poon, “Launching this event in the current climate has its challenges, but nowhere is better equipped than Dubai to deliver. With the support of local institutions and Government, we were determined to establish this exciting format for our community, our partners, and for tennis fans. It really is tennis like you have never seen before. We are equally excited to announce that leading up to the main tournament itself, TB10 Dubai is also establishing a grassroots junior tournament in parallel to support young talent in the sport, with the finals of both the boys and girls U18s event being played in the arena on the night of the main event. Also included is a tennis clinic in the week leading up to the main event for competition winners from schools in Dubai”.

Rachel Woodward, Marketing Director at Tie Break Tens, added, “Tie Break Tens is a really exciting tennis format that breaks the conventional molds for the sport as it allows fans to get closer to the world’s biggest stars and delivers high quality entertainment in the course of one evening. We are delighted to be able to bring the format to Dubai and add another world-class leading venue to our tournament schedule.”

Tie Break Tens recently signed Slinger Bag, the first truly portable tennis launcher, as an official partner for all tournaments in 2021. As part of this new partnership, Slinger Bag will work with TB10 Dubai on fan-focused activations at the tournament, adding additional value to the event for the fans on site.

TB10 Dubai has confirmed JA Resorts & Hotels as its official resort partner and Schluter Graf as the official legal partner all as part of its founding sponsors list for the Dubai tournament.

The tournament is being produced by Boqin Live, a division of Dubai-based sports management company Boqin established in 2008, with the support of the Dubai Sports Council.

Coca-Cola Arena

‘The National’ stated that with live entertainment making a comeback across the UAE following a dormant period enforced by the pandemic, Dubai’s Coca-Cola Arena is ramping up its efforts in becoming a key host venue for indoor sporting events.

Since opening its doors in 2019, the City Walk landmark has staged rock concerts, comedy shows, an international classical music festival, Bollywood performances, basketball games, and plenty more.

From Maroon 5 (American pop rock band) and Maluma (Colombian singer), to Wayne Brady (American TV personality) and Russell Peters (Canadian comedian), to Paul van Dyke (German DJ) and Aly & Fila (Egyptian musical duo), to Tony Robbins (American author) and Alicia Keys (American singer-songwriter), Coca-Cola Arena quickly established itself as a popular venue that has played host to some of the world’s biggest acts. When it comes to sports, though, the Arena is just getting started.

‘The National’ further stated that after welcoming the Philippines Basketball Association (PBA) in October 2019, hosting the Ultimate Kricket Challenge behind closed doors in November 2020, and staging an influencer ‘Vegas-style’ fight night, dubbed the Social Knockout, in July, the arena will venture into the world of indoor tennis by bringing the Tie Break Tens series to Dubai on October 22nd, featuring the likes of fan favorite French professional tennis player Gael Monfils and British professional tennis player Dan Evans.

Dubai is no stranger to hosting professional tennis events but the indoor tennis experience hasn’t fully been realized yet, with the majority held outdoors. If you’ve tuned into the Laver Cup tennis action that took place over the weekend in Boston’s (US) 19,580-capacity TD Garden, you’ll understand how electric the atmosphere can get watching sport in an indoor arena.

When the PBA came to Coca-Cola Arena two years ago, nearly 9,000 fans walked through the venue’s doors across two days to get a taste of the second-most watched basketball league on the planet.

Mark Jan Kar, General Manager, Coca-Cola Arena, exulted, “It was incredible. It was sport like nothing else, sort of the thrill and the excitement, the unpredictability; In game two, there was a buzzer-beater three-pointer to take the game into overtime and the crowd completely erupted. The joy and the thrill and the passion of sport are completely different to a concert or a Bollywood show or even a corporate event.”

The Tie Break Tens will feature a series of fast-paced knockout tennis matches, with the winner walking away with a Dh500, 000 prize cheque. A unique, made-for-TV concept, Tie Break Tens took place for the first time in 2015 at London’s Royal Albert Hall. It has toured different Cities since then, and will make its Middle East debut next month.

The event was initially meant to be held in 2019, was postponed to 2020 and then got pushed again due to the coronavirus pandemic. The promoter, Boqin Group, holds the UAE license for the showpiece for three years.

Explained Kar, “Our venue agreement is for one year, plus an option to continue for the next two years. We’re hoping the first event is a great success and then we can tie up a long-term partnership for the remainder of the three years, at a minimum. Obviously you’ve seen some of the major Grand Slams with their center courts having retractable roofs, there are some European indoor tournaments, and I think the fact the [Coca-Cola Arena] venue can house up to 17,000 for a rock concert, or a fully-seated Bollywood show, the ambience and the acoustics of bringing a live sporting event to play in the middle of Dubai is something that not only tennis fans would be excited about, but sports fans in general; just to see how it looks and how it sounds.”

Added Kar, “There’s no bad seat in the house, the way it will be positioned and designed.”

The inaugural Dubai Tie Break Tens will have between 3,500 to 5,000 spectators, thanks to a flexible design that allows organizers to scale up if needed. Kar says future editions can have up to 10,000 fans in attendance.

In terms of hosting professional tennis tournaments, the Coca-Cola Arena is limited by the fact it can only have one court for all matches. As a venue, it would be perfectly suited for an event like the ATP or WTA Finals that feature the year-end top eight players, competing over seven days using one match court.

The Coca-Cola Arena also holds the advantage of having access to the detailed blueprint of the ATP Finals that were held at London’s 20,000-capacity O2 Arena from 2009 to 2020. The O2 Arena is run and owned by AEG, which is a subsidiary of ASM Global, the operator of Coca-Cola Arena.

Kar continued, “Those decisions are led on a Governmental level through the Dubai Sports Council and the Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM). And if the opportunity came about, we certainly would be ready to host an ATP or WTA Finals. But from an arena’s perspective, we haven’t been involved in any of those conversations to date.”

There are other grand plans in the works, though. Kar revealed that the venue is looking at opportunities involving ice hockey games from the Russian and German leagues, which are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

He informed, “The Russian game will be a regular season game, the potential German team game is during the Winter Olympics, so that will be an exhibition game, with the ultimate goal being that Dubai picks up a sports franchise team, whether that’s ice hockey or basketball, and Coca-Cola Arena has an anchor tenant, and is the home of that franchise. We’d love to be in a position to not only undertake global exhibition games, but also work with leagues and franchise owners to have a franchise team, whether that’s a basketball team competing in the Europa League, or ice hockey competing in the Russian league, or whatever it may be in that capacity.”

Kar concluded, “Dubai is well-known for its hotels and beaches and hospitality experiences, and we host some of the world’s best sporting events like the DP World Race to Dubai, Meydan World Cup, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, but we don’t have a team. I guess you can say to some extent Godolphin is sort of the homegrown team, but that’s obviously horse racing. But in a traditional sense of a sports franchise team, on a personal note, and behind-the-scenes, the ambition is perhaps within three to five years to have a team that represents Dubai competing in some of the world’s best leagues.”

Mark Jan Kar, General Manager, Coca-Cola Arena, UAE, is a Member of Coliseum – Global Sports Venue Alliance.

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