I was watching Sergey Bubkra Jr. playing an ailing Ivan Ljubicic in the Dubai first round and couldn't help but be impressed by the young Ukrainian, whose pole-vaulting legend of a father I admire so dearly.
Bubka Jr. won the match after Ljubicic was forced to retire with an injury so I switched the channel from Dubai Sport to Al Jazeera Sport and caught Lucie Safarova's upset over Agnieszka Radwanska in the first round in Qatar.
I later logged on Twitter and caught Anastasia Rodionova's tweet saying:
"I'm bored!!!!! I think Doha can win the award of the most boring tournament of the year!"
Year in, year out, I watch the action in Qatar and Dubai and I dream of the day Cairo (or anywhere else in Egypt for that matter) could host an ATP or a WTA event. There used to be a Cairo Open at some point in time, but that was ages ago, not in my time, and being the tennis fanatic everyone knows I am, I almost felt that it was unfair that there was no Egypt Open. Such amazing tennis weather going to waste I thought!
But then I stumbled upon this amazing fact, and my day just got better! Matt Cronin of TennisReporters.net had tweeted this last month and somehow I missed it and only read it today:
"Just heard new Cairo WTA event will be on grass, played prior to Wimby. Wow."
I quickly googled the 2012 WTA calendar which was released on January 6th and there it was, lying between the 2012 Roland Garros and the 2012 Wimbledon, was the NewGiza International, a grass WTA event scheduled to take place in Cairo 2 weeks before Wimbledon next year. HALLE-freakin'-LUJAH !!!!
Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, Anna Kournikova, Maria Sanchez-Lorenzo & Olga Barabanschikova posing in front of the Pyramids back in 1998 when they played an exhibition in Cairo
I have a meeting at the Egyptian Tennis Federation soon and will try to get more information about this because in my 20+ years of living in Cairo, I can honestly say I haven't laid my eyes on a single grass court, but the tournament name clearly implies that there is going to be one in New Giza, and I am psyched about this.
So Dubai, Doha and Fès, welcome the latest addition to the Middle East tennis calendar, the one and only, CAIRO OPEN :)