Karen Khachanov trains at Dubai’s Al Habtoor Tennis Academy in preparation for ATP 2020 season

- Dubai resident Khachanov practices ahead of three ATP tournaments in February
- High-performance training environment sought by Russian breakthrough player

Karen Khachanov, the Russian tennis player who achieved No. 8 in the ATP rankings last year with four ATP singles titles and a quarterfinal at the 2019 French Open, is currently training at Al Habtoor Tennis Academy (AHTA) in Dubai, just as the 2020 ATP season gets into full swing.

A resident of Dubai, Khachanov is currently in preparation for various tournaments, including the Dubai Tennis Championships scheduled between 17 to 29 February. Keeping his shots honed ahead of the next ATP tournaments — ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament and Open 13 Provence — in the Netherlands and France respectively, 23-year-old Khachanov last played in the fourth round of the Australian Open in Melbourne on 25 January, in a nail-biting finish against Aussie Nick Kyrgios.

Dubai has become a tennis destination of choice in recent years, attracting top players with its all-year training weather, tennis facilities, easy travel access to the rest of the world, great lifestyle and tax-free options. Along with Monte Carlo and Geneva, Dubai is a favoured second home and training destination for famous players including Roger Federer.

The currently 16th seeded Khachanov will be seen at the AHTA facilities in the first week of February 2020, using both the outdoor and indoor courts and his favourite Wilson H22 racquets with 18X20 string pattern in practice.

The tennis complex — located at Al Habtoor City — features four hard courts covering 1,100 sq m, matching international court standards. Khachanov will also be practising his shots at AHTA’s air-conditioned indoor tennis pavilion — the only such court in the UAE — with all the amenities and ambience required by seasoned players. The UAE national tennis team also trained here ahead of their showing at the 2019 Davis Cup.

Khachanov said: “I’m thrilled to practice my game at these facilities, ahead of the upcoming championships in Rotterdam, Marseille and Dubai. The presence of both outdoor and indoor courts here helps me adapt to playing different conditions — warmer air in which the balls fly more and the air-conditioned interior where it’s less bouncy. Playing in the warm outdoor conditions in Dubai also helps out with fitness levels.”

Aiming for greater consistency in the 2020 season, the young Khachanov is considered one of the exciting, breakthrough talents who could eventually replace one of the ‘Big Four’ in tennis: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.

For 22 years, AHTA has organised Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge, the largest women’s tennis tournament in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) ranking, which takes place at Habtoor Grand Resort annually. It is the only UAE women’s event ranked by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA). AHTA also hosts local championships for men, youth and beginners.