Home advantage will be crucial, feels UAE coach

Dubai: The UAE tennis coach is confident the home advantage will act as an extra motivation for the squad when they square off in their Asia/Oceania Group III encounter at the Aviation Club here later this week.

The UAE will join Cambodia, Hong Kong, Iran, Malaysia, Oman, Pacific Oceania and Vietnam in the Group III tie that was scheduled to be held earlier this summer. The eight teams will be divided into two groups during the draw ceremony on September 10.

The teams will play in a round-robin format with the top two nations in each pool progressing to a new promotion pool with only the top two getting promoted to Group II during 2014.

Similarly in the fight for relegation, the bottom two nations in each pool will be placed in a new relegation pool with the last two teams getting demoted to Group IV for the next year.

“The idea is to stay back in Group III. We’ve had some really good support from the new board of directors from Tennis Emirates and the players have been feeling this sense of belonging. In turn, they realise that they need to do their best and achieve these objectives,” UAE national team tennis coach Jorge Martin Munoz told Gulf News.

The UAE squad of five players – Omar Bahroozian, Hamad Abbas Al Janahi, Mahmoud Nader, Abdul Rahman Al Janahi and Saud Al Ali — have spent a major part of summer training in Spain with Bahroozian and Hamad Abbas Al Janahi travelling to England and Tunisia respectively to play in Futures there.

“The players are working hard and the extra motivation lies in the fact that we are playing at home. We are all aware that we need to give it our best shot. Maybe we can get promoted to Group II, but the realistic idea is to stay back in Group III for the moment,” the Spaniard added.

The UAE squad is training twice a day at the Aviation Club since the past one week already. The morning session is dedicated to fitness training and in the evening the players play at the Aviation Club courts to get accustomed to the surface.

On his part, the coach is yet to make a decision on the final composition of the four-member squad particularly due to a keen contest for one spot between the two youngsters in the team – Saud Al Ali and Abdul Rahman Al Janahi.

“Both are at a very similar level of play and I would still give them this week before I decide on the final four,” Munoz noted.

“We have a tough task ahead of us and I am confident that all players will be up to the task in fulfilling our goals,” he added.

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