Venus Williams plans to use the passion of her Abu Dhabi fans to power her to Mubadala World Tennis Championship glory.
The sporting legend will make her first trip to the capital next month to play an as-yet unannounced opponent for the title.
She joins tennis heavyweights Rafael Nadal, Novac Djokovic and Kevin Anderson on a world-class line-up for the tournament, now in its 11th year.
The seven-time Grand Slam winner has played in the planet’s biggest sporting arenas and is looking forward to connecting with the crowd at Abu Dhabi International Tennis Centre, which has a capacity of 5,000.
She told Time Out Abu Dhabi: “I love that actually, to feel the energy of the crowd right on top of you. I think it will give me a boost to play better.
“I have been to the UAE many times, but never to Abu Dhabi.
“I have friends in Dubai and have spent time there. Hopefully when I am in Abu Dhabi I will be able to catch up with them.
“I am most definitely looking forward to seeing Abu Dhabi. It would be a missed opportunity for me not to (see some of the sights).
“I always like to take advantage of the places I go to on tour.”
Venus will be hoping Abu Dhabi is as happy a hunting ground for her as Dubai has proved in the past.
She has been crowned Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships winner three times and believes she is well-equipped to deal with the demands of competing in the UAE.
A year ago, her 23-time major-winning sister Serena played in the first women's event at the tournament, losing to Jelena Ostapenko.
And Venus wants to go one better as she prepares for a busy year, with the Australian Open following hot on the heels of her Abu Dhabi exhibition.
She added: “Serena played here last year, it was an exciting time for her and her first competitive match of the season.
“She went on to have a great year, so I hope I can do the same and have a great year this year.
“I am feeling good about my tennis and I am feeling strong.”
Tickets are priced from Dhs100 and can be purchased from www.ticketmaster.ae or by calling 800 86 823 and all Virgin Megastores across the UAE.
From Dhs100. December 27-29. International Tennis Centre, Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi (800 86 823).