Former Moroccan tennis player Younes El Aynaoui is a happy man. He is the coach of the Falcons, one of the most star-studded teams who are competing in the inaugural World Tennis League at the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai.
A four-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist during his playing days, the popular Moroccan is enjoying his role as mentor to the four-player team of Novak Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov, Aryna Sabalenka and Paula Badosa.
“It’s an amazing and unique experience to be the coach of a team that has Novak Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov and two top women players,” El Aynaoui said during an on-court interview on day two of the inaugural tournament.
“These are all such highly ranked players so it’s a pure joy to be a part of it. Honestly, I’m just a spectator who is trying to learn from these great players.
“There are two generations out there (Falcons). You have senior players like Novak and Grigor who have so much experience and victories under the belts and then you have the up and coming players like Aryna Sabalenka and Paula Badosa,” El Aynaoui added.
“Hopefully we can have a good result here.”
Fifty-one year old El Aynaoui, shocked the world six years ago when he won a match on the Tour, almost 27 years since he won his first ITF match when he defeat a 23-year-old Bernd Kossler in the Futures Tournament in Bahrain.
El Aynaou, who is one of the most highly-respected athletes in Morocco together with Hicham El Geurrouj is perhaps best-remembered for playing one of the greatest Grand Slam quarterfinals ever, when he lost 21-19 in the fifth set to Andy Roddick at the 2003 Australian Open.
He was also awarded a gold medal — the nation's highest sporting honour — from King Mohamed VI, for his sporting accomplishments.
Asked to comment on the Moroccan football team’s historic performance at the Fifa World Cup in Qatar, El Aynaoui said: “It was crazy. What the team did was huge for us, for our country.
“Football means so much to everyone (in Morocco). When they reached the semifinals everybody was celebrating in the streets, everywhere.”
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