In an interview to L'Equipe, the former tennis player and current Qatar Open Tournament Director Karim Alami revealed the goals of the Qatar Tennis Federation for the future. The Federation is led by the Paris Saint Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, who was in Doha the whole week during the event earlier this month.
What are the goals for tennis in the country? 'Having even more Qatari players who reach their best level', said Alami. 'There is someone who is currently world No. 800 or 900, but it's enough. The more players, the more likely they crack top 100 or at least top 200.
It will take time, but it's about mentality, sometimes it takes generations. Doha tournament keeps growing: we would like to become a Masters 1000, we have been waiting for an opening for years but it's very difficult.
There are nine Masters 1000s but no one is on sale yet. We are waiting for an opportunity.' About the tennis culture in Qatar, Alami added: 'The Arab public starts knowing tennis, players, rules, who wins, who loses, who is at the highest level in the rankings.
People are interested to tennis. The Doha tournament became a very important event for people here in the last years. 90% of tickets were sold.' About the tennis popularity in the country, Alami concluded: 'The situation improved a lot in the last ten years.
The number of kids who play tennis grows, Doha tournament made them get interested to the game. In Doha, we have a school that combines almost 100 kids. We cannot compare Qatar' situation with other countries like France, where tennis has been existing for a long time, but we are starting to move forward.'