By Abdellatif Sharaa

KUWAIT: The 2nd Arab Masters Tennis Tournament will start on December 20th. The draw will be held the day before said President of Kuwait and Arab Shooting Federations Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Abdallah Al-Sabah in a press conference which was held at Kuwait Tennis Federation premise.

Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber said the top two players in each country are allowed to participate in the tournament provided that they are ranked by ATP - making it the strongest among tournaments at the Arab level. He said participating countries will be Morocco, Tunis, Algeria, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in addition to host country Kuwait.

The organizing committee allocated a total of $87,000 in prize money; $75,000 for singles and $13,000 for the doubles. The singles first place winner will receive $25,000 and second place will receive $10,000. He said this is the first time such prizes will be given and thanked the sponsors who made it possible. President of KTF and ATF said the tournament is a good opportunity for players to improve their levels as each player will have two matches per day - one in singles and one in doubles.

The tournament is being held at this time of the year because the internationally ranked players are on break and can participate. Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber hoped the tournament is held each year and hoped a number of fans will be at the stands to support their players. The main goals of the event is to show the progress tennis has made in the Arab world.

The first and second place winners will be given wild cards to participate in Dubai and Qatar open, which is a good motivation for players to participate and work hard. Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber said "we  will try our best to support Arab players, as the ATF is headquartered in Kuwait, and we hope to see a top ranked Arab player as Ons Jabeur did reach the number 2 in the world."

KTF Deputy Chairman Abdelsamad Al-Aryan said the tournament will be officiated by 26 internationally recognized umpires and linesmen, led by referee Abdelraouf Abdelsalam and thanked all organizing committees for their efforts. KTF secretary general Faleh Al-Otaibi said the tournament will be in favor of the national team as the host country has the right to participate with more than two players.

He said the participating Kuwaiti players are Gulf Champion Essa Qabazard, Ali Al-Shatti, Hussein Al-Shatti, Bader Antar and Yaqoub Mohammad. Al-Otaibi appreciated the efforts of Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber to make the organization of the tournament possible land ensure the valuable prize money for the ranked players.