Tennis is back! Federer out but Djokovic will head to the Dubai's tennis championships
The weather has calmed down just enough for Dubai residents to catch up on their serves and backhands at the Dubai Duty Free Tennish Championships.
The event which has kicked off every February since 1993, features some of the biggest names in tennis. Ahead of the men's competition starting this weekend, we've got the skinny on everything you need to know about Tennis' hottest event.
When is it?
The women's competition (WTA) has already begun with Kim Clijsters making her much talked about return to the world of tennis. She eventually lost to Garbiñe Muguruza.
The tournament began on Monday (February 17) with the women’s WTA Premier Tournament.
The final will be held on Saturday, February 23, with the ATP Men’s tournament running from Monday, February 24 with the final on Saturday, February 29.
Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship celebrates its 27th year
Dubai's tennis championship has a long, long history, having started off almost three decades ago in 1993, where Karel Novacek lifted the inaugural trophy. And since then all the top names have taken to the court from Goran Ivanisevic, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Martina Hingis, to Amelie Mauresmo and Justin Henin.
The first women’s competition was won by Martina Hingis in 2001.
Czech Karel Novacek wins the singles title with the Australian-Swedish pairing of Jarryd/John Fitzgerald claiming the inaugural doubles title.
Superstars in town
Last year, Roger Federer won his 100th title, a major career milestone and an eighth Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4 6-4, and he’s back at it again in 2020.
The ATP Men's Tournament as a long line-up of superstars including 2019 Wimbledon winner Novak Djokovic, Gael Monfils, Karen Khachanov, Roberto Bautista Agut, with Tsitsipas also returning to Dubai.
Dubai's most famous part time resident Federer said:
"I feel very happy here when I'm playing the tournament, no doubt about it. I feel like I do get like somewhat of a home crowd support. Yeah, walking around and stuff, I know my way around. I love taking my car and going to places, going to restaurants, all that stuff. I mean, it depends. Obviously if I would go to the mall at 9pm, not the cleverest move I could make. I know where to go, how to do it."
While Federer was all set to play in Dubai, he has had to unfortunately pull out for the next few months from active play.
In a statement on Twitter, Federer said:
"My right knee has been bothering me for a little while. I hoped it would go away but after an examination and discussion with my team, I have decided to have arthroscopic surgery in Switzerland yesterday.
"After the procedure, the doctors confirmed that it was the right thing to have done and are very confident of a full recovery.
"As a result, I will, unfortunately, have to miss Dubai, Indian Wells, Bogota, Miami and the French Open. I am grateful for everyone’s support. I can’t wait to be back playing again soon, see you on the grass."
Federer will miss the whole clay court season including the French Open but is targeting a return most likely at his usual pre-Wimbledon grass court warm up event in Halle, Germany.
Novak Djokovic is having one of the best starts to the season with his recent victory at the Australian Open. At the recent Australian Open he had quite the showdown with the fans.
Of all my tweets that got into four-digit range in RTs, didn't see this one coming at all.
But in lieu of a Soundcloud, please know that while Djokovic may not get much crowd support in big matches, he's reliably the best with his fan interactions. https://t.co/OP9So3hjrr— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) February 3, 2020
He recently told AFP:
“When they chanted 'Roger, Roger' I willed myself into believing they were chanting 'Novak, Novak',” he said.
“Sometimes it does give me an impetus. But honestly, I do prefer having the crowd on my side."
“Where would you rather be, in a place where 10,000 fans are with you or against you?”
But that's defintiely one thing the Serb doesn't have to worry about in Dubai, where he's won in 2009, 2010, and 2013. He was recently given one of UAE's rare gold card residency visas recently as well.
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How to buy tickets
Tickets can be purchased from the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium Box Office, which is open from 9am to 9pm, as well as from dubai.platinumlist.net. Prices range from Dhs55 on the opening days, to Dhs475 for men’s finals.
For more information, please visit www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com