That Time A Tennis Match Was Played In The Middle Of A Lagoon

Tennis is one of the most unique elite professional sports out there, and no other sport has the number of unique playing surfaces and alternative rules as the great court sport.

Whilst most people in the UK associate tennis with the lush tennis grass seeds of Wimbledon, hard courts and clay courts are also exceptionally popular and has led to the unique phenomenon of certain players being much better on certain courts than others due to how the ball bounces.

In the past, this was tested when the greatest grass-court player of all time and the King of Clay battled it out on a mixed surface, but this was somehow not the oddest place the two have faced off.

In 2011, four years after their infamous Battle of the Surfaces, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal had an exhibition match to promote the ATP World Tour and the Qatar Open.

The difference between this and the dozens of other matches the then World Number One and Number Two would have is that it took place on a floating court in the middle of a lagoon in Doha.

The history behind this is one of tradition. The Qatar Open is traditionally the opening of the ATP World Tour since 2009 and is usually the first professional tournament of the year. The ATP 250 event would see several special exhibition matches take place between the best two men’s players.

The first saw Rafa and Roger play tennis on a boat moored on Doha Bay, before playing on a ‘magic carpet’ themed tennis court in the Souq Waqif, a Doha marketplace and landmark.

The year after the floating court, Mr Federer and Mr Nadal would play a game in the Katara Amphitheatre, but none of these ceremonial matches would be as fascinating and unique as the floating court.

Outside of an underwater court or a court in outer space, it would probably be difficult to top the range of exotic places Roger Federer has played tennis.

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