Game Set Match! My VIP experience at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship

{Many thanks to Emirates for keeping my internship amazing with the VIP passes!}

I absolutely lucked out this morning when the Emirates Events team generously bestowed two sets of VIP tickets for tonight’s Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship tickets to me!

After a whirlwind roundup of my tennis-loving family, I arrived at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium straight from a day of interning with Emirates. Still clad in my black blazer, I spruced up my makeup in the speedy yellow taxi ride over to Irish Village, which is a lively ring of pubs and restaurants made even better by their twinkling festive lights year round.

Excitement buzzed in the evening air: Day Two of the women’s singles championship matches had been underway since 11am, and people milled from the busy pubs to the action of the three courts within the stadium — located at the heart of the ring —  to support their favorite tennis stars.

Lots of familiar faces on this programme! Here’s lookin’ at you, Federer!

Larger-than-life banners cascaded down from the stadium and we could hear the announcers French-accented voice calling out the current score over the sound system, as my dad and I climbed up to the red-carpeted section of the VIP area of Center Court. I have to say, the announcer’s way of saying tirty-lurv just made my day 🙂

As the ushers welcomed us to our seats, we realized we could not have asked for better ones. Just ahead of our Emirates and Gulf News row were four plush leather armchairs, decorated with their own floral arrangements and sturdy coffee tables. I can only imagine that these luxurious sets were reserved for the Royal Emirati Family and their distinguished guests.  An additional set of plasma TVs accompanied their seating, should the viewers want to see the action on the other two courts or a secondary close-up view of the players on Center Court.

Royal Treatment ❤ 

Since the royal family was not present that night, the seats remained vacant. Mr. Colm McLoughlin the Executive Vice-President and CEO of Dubai Duty Free, his wife and their guests did join the VIP section for the duration of the evening.

Chinese athlete, Zhu Lin and Belgian champion Elise Mertens had just begun their second set when we arrived. I won’t pretend to have too much knowledge about the women’s professional tennis circuit, but I did play socially once upon a time so I could appreciate the skills these talented ladies were unleashing on the blue court! Porsche’s sponsorship had contributed a “shot speed” gauge on the side of the court; it was incredible to watch them clock Merten and Zhu’s serve speeds at 165 kilometers! The athletes continued to battle out the next sets over three hours until Zhu took the victory with 7-5.

By this time it was decidedly chilly, and despite the nibbles from the Grey Goose bar within our box, we were ready to head down to Irish Village where we enjoyed a complimentary dinner at the Nomad, a wonderful restaurant boasting an incredible buffet. If you haven’t already sampled it, you have to come to Dubai for the food. It’s an absolute delight and the multi-national array of cuisines is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. My parents, Milin Uncle (<3) and I enjoyed our three course meal along with options of red and white wines to its fullest before returning to the VIP seating at Center Court.

I loved the chocolate mousse!

We rounded up the night by watching titans, Lara Arruabarrena from Spain and Dominika Cibulkova from Slovakia finish up their last set, in a decisive victory of 6-2 for Cibulkova. Their match was absolutely gorgeous to watch as the rallies were lengthy and included some interesting moments that brought the fans to the edge of their seats. As we departed at the end of the night, we caught a peek at the silver trophy shaped like an Arabian coffee vessel in its glass case. I recently read that the winning prize for the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship tournament is $5.7 million (yes, USD) or Dhs. 20.9 million which is just phenomenal and mind-blowing.

Tennis titans in Dubai

All-in-all it was a really memorable night for tennis fans and I’m so happy that we were able to be a part of it 🙂 The Women’s #DDFTennis championship will continue from February 17th to 23rd, and the Men’s #DDFTennis rounds will commence shortly after from February 25th with the finals on March 2nd.

Tickets are available from Dhs.55 to Dhs. 475 at Feb 17-Mar 2. The event is located at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, in Garhoud, Dubai. For tickets and details check out Until next time, keep exploring! 🙂 xoxo #nikitalyfe ❤ P.S. Check out my full Insta Story from the night below!


Author: Nikita Taimni

A Dubai-based blogger, I write about travel, theatre and lifestyle in the cities I explore around the world. Follow me on Instagram @nikitalyfe and follow via email if you enjoy reading my posts!

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