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It's 50-50: Tahlak on Federer's chances of playing in Dubai

Rituraj Borkakoty/Dubai
Filed on February 17, 2018
Its 50-50: Tahlak on Federers chances of playing in Dubai
Salah Tahlak, Tournament Director of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships takes part during the WTA draw.

(Photo by Leslie Pableo)

The Dubai tournament will have the spidercam for the first time and they will also have the hawk-eye on Court One.

Salah Tahlak, Tournament Director of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, is still hopeful of having Roger Federer in the tournament when the men's event begins on February 26.

The 36-year-old Federer made history on Friday night when he became oldest world number one by reaching the semifinals at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

Federer took a last-minute decision to enter the Rotterdam event as he aimed to dethrone old rival Rafael Nadal from the top spot in the ATP rankings after having won his 20th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January.

Now that the mission has been accomplished, there are doubts whether Federer will enter the Dubai tournament - an event he has won seven times in the past. "It's like 50-50. We are still hoping that he will come because you know he loves Dubai and Dubai Duty Free," Tahlak told Khaleej Times on Saturday.

"His first career title came in Milan and that tournament was owned by Dubai Duty Free. So it's always on his mind. And he has been good to Dubai and Dubai has been good to him. But sometimes we can't push beyond the borders. He is a human being and he has his priorities."

Tahlak then hailed the Swiss maestro's latest feat.

"It's such an achievement for him to be the number one again and we wish him all the best. He is a legend and he is going to be 37 in August. So it's a big milestone for him even if he becomes number one for just one week because you don't know what Nadal will do.

"But I think if he wins Rotterdam and then comes to Dubai and wins it, then it (the number one ranking) will be his for quite some time," he said.

This year the men's event so far has attracted only two top 20 players. And Salah says injuries have played a part in top players becoming more cautious with their schedule.

"The problem is that we have got lot of injuries in men's tennis," he said.

"And one of the reasons for these injuries is that at the end of the season they (the top players) play exhibition matches. Of course, it's another revenue for them, but physically they get tired after a long season," he added.

"Andy Murray has been struggling with injury issues and Novak Djokovic was 50-50!"

Tahlak then revealed that the Dubai tournament will have the spidercam for the first time and they will also have the hawk-eye on Court One.

"It's very important for us to have the hawk-eye on Court One. And the spider-camera on centre court will give different views and different angles. So watching the matches will be even more exciting for the fans."

rituraj@khaleejtimes.com

 


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