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Legendary tennis player to come to Kazakhstan 14 сентября 2014, 19:23

Legendary Spanish professional tennis player and World No.2 Rafael Nadal will come to Astana on September 24 on an invitation of Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan.
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National Tennis Center. Photo courtesy of wikimapia.org. National Tennis Center. Photo courtesy of wikimapia.org.

Legendary Spanish professional tennis player and World No.2 Rafael Nadal will come to Astana, Kazakhstan on September 24 on the invitation of Nursultan Nazarbayev, the country's President, Tengrinews reports citing Vesti.kz.

The winner of 14 Grand Slam singles titles, the 2008 Olympic gold medal in singles, a record 27 ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) World Tour Masters 1000 Rafael Nadal will come to Kazakhstan for the first time ever.

Earlier, he expressed interest in visiting Kazakhstan, but due to his tight schedule, he could not come sooner. Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev congratulated him on the win of Roland Garros tournament during a phone conversation. "We have long sought to invite Rafael Nadal for an exhibition match to help develop and popularize tennis in Kazakhstan," Executive Director of Kazakhstan's Tennis Federation Dias Doskarayev said.

Nadal initially expected to play against Kazakh tennis professionals, but in September's the best Kazakh players will be taking part in the Asian Games in South Korea, so Kazakhstan's Tennis Federation invited French tennis professional Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who is currently ranked World No. 12 to take part in the exhibition match. "We decided to invite a prominent athele, capable of resist Spanish tennis player and show a beautiful game. (...) After weighing all pros and cons, we invited Tsonga," Dias Doskarayev said, "The athlete is an experienced, outstanding tennis player, who plays beautifully. He kindly accepted our proposal to come to Kazakhstan and partcipate in an exhibition match."

The game between Nadal and Tsonga will be held on September 25. It will start at 7 p.m. at Daulet National Tennis Center located at 6/1 Kabanbay Batyr Street. The tickets for the game can be purchased in Meloman shops in Astana and in booking office of the National Tennis Center. The tickets' price ranges between 2,000 tenge ($11) and 100,000 tenge ($550) depending on the seat and the lodge.

Dias Doskarayev also said that the exhibition match would mark Nadal's return to the tennis arena after a number of injuries. "He got injured a long time ago. (...) He was recovering steadily. Hhis official return to the tennis court will take place here, in Kazakhstan, before he will take part in the Asian Series," Dias Doskarayev said. "It will positively affect tennis in Kazakhstan. Nadal's fans all around the world are already talking about his return to the court here, in Kazakhstan," he said.

Apart from the match, the two world-renowned tennis players are expected to give a master-class to the young Kazakh tennis players – participants of Team Kazakhstan tennis academy, that focuses on selecting and training the most outstanding and promising young tennis players in Kazakhstan.

The two athletes will also visit Astana-based Nazarbayev University and Haileybury international school, meet their fans during an autograph session and see Astana’s most popular sights.

The event is organized by Kazakhstan’s Tennis Federation. “Popularization and development of tennis in Kazakhstan is the main task of our Federation. We are pleased that the legends of world tennis Rafael Nadal and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will come to Astana to play the exhibition match. This visit is a priceless opportunity for our young tennis players and the younger generation of tennis professionals to see a living legend, get an inspiration and learn from the legendary masters. Tennis fans will be able to enjoy a unique show, because every match of legendary Rafa (Rafael) is a landmark event,” President of Kazakhstan’s Tennis Federation Bulat Utemuratov said.

By Assel Satubaldina

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