Thursday,16 August, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1297, (26 May - 1 June 2016)
Thursday,16 August, 2018
Issue 1297, (26 May - 1 June 2016)

Ahram Weekly

The centre court revival

Al-Ahram Weekly

AFTER a nearly 11-year hiatus, the Al-Gezira Club’s main tennis centre court is back in action, not only as a tennis court where national and international tennis matches take place, but also as host to cultural and music concerts as well.

The Gezira centre court, the most famous in the Middle East, is now being refurbished and renovated. After hosting the international tennis federation’s world women’s championship last month, the club’s board of directors announced that Omar Khairat’s concert would be the inaugural cultural event to be hosted at the centre court. The last concert held at the club was in 2005 when the pop singer Moustafa Ammar entertained club members.

The centre court, which hosted the first tennis tournament in 1904, had later seen the participation of famous tennis players in the new era with the likes of Swedish player Bjorn Borg, Englishman Rod Laver and Ismail El-Shafei. It was also a venue for music concerts by famous international superstars like Demis Roussos in 1975 and Dalida in 1983. It also hosted the last concert by Egypt’s legendary singer, the late Abdel-Halim Hafez.

The club’s chairman of the board Mohamed Zaki Moussa said this concert is just the beginning. “We are hoping to bring the vibe back to the centre court as an entertainment and sports venue. The club members are thrilled with the idea and would like to bring back the glory days of the club which has always been a social and sports club. Hopefully, we can arrange for a concert or an event every month.”

The 4,000-seat centre court was almost a full house that day. For more than two hours, composer Omar Khairat entertained a delighted audience. Before starting his performance, the renowned musician addressed the audience and said he was glad to return to the centre court after many years. “My first concert was here, at the Gezira Club, and I am glad that I am here tonight on the occasion of the inauguration of the centre court”.

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