Nadal and Federer play on a floating court in Qatar

Tennis legends Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal took their long-stranding rivalry one step further by playing against each other on a floating platform on a lagoon in Qatar.

The world number one and two players took to the specially-made court ahead of the Qatar Open, which marks the official start of the tennis calendar.

Federer will be hoping the arrival of the season will see his form against his intense rival turn. 

Last year Nadal won the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open titles.

On New Year’s Day, the pair battled it out at Abu Dhabi’s invitational World Tennis Championships, when Nadal edged him out 7-6, 7-6 to defend his title.

They pair have won an incredible 25 Grand Slam titles between them, with Federer holding a record 16 titles.

(Rafael Nadal arrives in Doha ahead of the Qatar Open)

Spectators can expect to see much of the pair in 2011, starting with the tournament held in Doha, which begins today.

Last year, Russian Nikolay Davydenko beat Nadal 0-6, 7-6, 6-4. And the year before that, Andy Murray took the crown.

(A hero’s welcome - Roger Federer arrives in Qatar)

Qatar’s credentials as the sport tourism hub of the Middle East took a giant leap forward in December when it was awarded hosting rights to the 2022 World Cup - the first Arab country in history ever to do so.

Qatar’s tourism and hospitality sector is hoping that the World Cup will be the key to propelling the tiny Gulf state into the international tourism spotlight, as well as establishing it as a sports tourism destination on an international level.

Mohammed Al Ansari, head of Licensing & Classification Tourism Activities, Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) said Qatar is already seeing a new surge in interest from prospective tourists.

He said: “The Qatar 2022 announcement is not just a wonderful opportunity for the country, but also a bonus for the tourism industry. Already we are seeing new interest in Qatar as a destination.”

(Federer - the man with the golden touch)

Tourism is a major sector in Qatar’s strategy to diversify its economy - the country receives around 1 million visitors a year and expects growth of 20 percent in tourism over the next five years. Currently 90 percent of visitors come to Qatar for business reasons alone, but it is hoping the World Cup will bring a whole new segment of visitors to the destination.

World Mobi

In the build up to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, World Mobi has launched its new guide to the capital.

Doha.Mobi is the latest in this illustrious line up of city guides, with over 800 cities in 200 countries listed. Each is developed by the World Mobi team to combine into a single global travel directory.

The guide offers click to call functionality – which means no scribbling down telephone numbers.

Most entries are also linked to websites where users can quickly access more detailed information if needed.

(Sporting high - Nadal collects “World’s Leading Tennis Personality” at World Sports Awards)

Other key features include information on accommodation, restaurants, attractions, entertainment, nightlife, shopping, and transport.

World.Mobi guides include user reviews and traveller utilities such as a translation guide, currency converter, news and local weather guide.