Flash Entertainment CEO John Lickrish revealed he has a good relationship with Rafael Nadal and the Spaniard once wanted to gift him his Richard Mille watch. Flash Entertainment owns the Mubadala World Tennis Championships and Lickrish once in the past complimented Nadal's jacket and asked if he could have it.
Nadal was a bit shocked at the request but that started their good relationship. “I’ve been pulling this trick on him every year, try to anyway,” Lickrish told The National. “The last time I did it with his Richard Mille watch.
I was like, ‘that’s a great watch’ and he’s like, ‘yeah, you know it’s super light’. I’m like I’d like to have that one and he actually took it off and handed it to me (Lickrish did not take it).
I would have taken the jacket if he had given it to me, to be honest”.
Belinda Bencic join Nadal
Emma Raducanu and Bencic had been expected to square off in the lone women's match at this year's Mubadala World Tennis Championships.
Raducanu tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday and is out of the Mubadala World Tennis Championships. Lickrish revealed the plan is to get more women to the event in the future. “From the beginning we looked at it and thought, 'how do we incorporate women into the tournament?' There’s been some different proposals internally that we’ve looked at, also through bringing a female-only tournament as well,” said Lickrish.
“I’ve always thought it would be better to combine the two things. First of all, it’s really what we’re doing with budgets that we have, we’ve decided, and through some of our partners, we can bring women in.
I didn’t want to do it as a one-off, I didn’t want to do it as a kitschy thing. Unfortunately Covid really interrupted our plans, we’re just kind of taking it easy this year. “But we want to incorporate more women into the tournament and get it up to equal standing as the men.
That is the direction that I want to take the tournament. “I think it’s important. It would come up here and there, oh let’s do this, and I said, ‘Look, I don’t want to do this once, you’ve got to make sure that we can do this every year’.
So it’s been very important that there has been consistency. “We’re looking to broaden that and we’ll have more players in the 2022 tournament, that’s kind of the plan, to slowly integrate this tournament, because we think it’s important”.