Alfaraj to represent Saudi Arabia in Davis Cup Asia tournament
Abdullah M. Alfaraj wins Torneo Tennis Planet Verano tournament in Madrid, Spain.
Saudi Arabia’s top-ranked tennis player, Aramcon Abdullah M. Alfaraj, recently won the Torneo Tennis Planet Verano tournament in Madrid, Spain, held from Aug. 9-12. The tournament was part of a training camp in preparation for the upcoming Davis Cup Asia team tournament, to be held in Bahrain from Oct. 18-24. The Davis Cup is the premier international team event in men’s tennis, it is often described as the “World Cup of Tennis.” It is run by the International Tennis Federation and is held annually for teams from competing countries.
As a member of the Saudi national team at the Davis Cup, Alfaraj and three other top Saudi teammates will be competing against other national teams across Asia. The top three national teams from the tournament will then advance to the next stage, in a Davis Cup tournament to be played next year.
As a member of Al Salam Club in Awamiyah, Alfaraj led the team to win its second Saudi National Tennis League for the second year in a row. The team event was played throughout the year in Jiddah, Dammam, and Taif. Alfaraj also came out on top in the Saudi Ranking Tennis Tournament held in Taif from July 1-3.
What makes Alfaraj most proud, he said, is the opportunity to represent the Kingdom on the international stage.
“It is a feeling that nothing else can replace,” said Alfaraj, a drilling engineer in the Drilling Technical Department. “I feel immense pride and responsibility at the same time in representing my country, and I feel that I am up for it and ready to handle the huge pressure that comes with it.”
Alfaraj has a number of key victories under his belt after nearly 25 years of playing tennis. Encouraged by his father, he began tennis lessons at the age of 5, together with his older brother Ali in Al Salam Club. By the age of 10, Alfaraj had won his first tournament, and by 11, he was invited to join the National Junior Tennis Team, with whom he played for another seven years. On his return from university in the U.S., Alfaraj began to play once more with the Al Salam team. In 2016, he was named as one of four players on Saudi Arabia’s team for the Davis Cup tournament.
While Alfaraj’s success has its roots in the support he has received from his family, it has equally depended on the rigorous practice schedule he maintains. After a full day of work, Alfaraj heads out to practice five or six times per week, with each practice lasting one and a half to three hours.
“My father was a big fan of the sport; he used to play tennis in university,” Alfaraj said. “He encouraged us to play and took us every day to practice. My family’s support has the biggest effect on my career, I wouldn’t have achieved anything without them.”
Alfaraj is excited about the Kingdom’s new emphasis on healthy lifestyles and sport, through the Saudi Vision 2030 initiative that was initiated by HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. “There has been such a big change in society; there has been a significant increase in the amateur-level practice of sports, which is one of the objectives of the vision,” Alfaraj said. “There is much more support for sports in the Kingdom, from top to bottom. As top athletes, we have the power to inspire the community to engage in sports, and as a country, we will be able to prepare elite athletes to be among the top in the world.”
Sports are important to society, Alfaraj said. “The goal is to promote physical, social well-being and a healthy lifestyle. Another reason is national pride. Winning a gold medal in an international sports competition like the Olympics is a great source for national pride, and raising the Saudi flag in front of the whole world is an amazing feeling.”