Djokovic, Federer head star line-up for Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships
One of the strongest men's and women's fields ever assembled in Dubai
Novak Djokovic will make a welcome return to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships next month in a bid to reclaim the title he last won in 2013 and the sought-after tickets to watch him in action are now on sale online starting at only Dh55.
The reigning Australian Open and Wimbledon champion and world number two joins a stellar field that includes eight-time champion Roger Federer, who in winning last year claimed his 100th career singles title. Also bidding for the title will be 2019 finalist and ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas and 2018 Dubai winner Roberto Bautista Agut.
"We are thrilled to welcome Novak Djokovic back to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships," said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free. "He is one of the greatest champions the game has ever seen, with 16 Grand Slam titles so far to his name with no doubt more to come. We are delighted to not only welcome him, but also welcome one of the finest athletes in any sport over the past decade and more, Roger Federer, as well as one of the brightest future stars on the ATP Tour, Stefanos Tsitsipas."
Djokovic, who has already begun this season by playing an integral role in leading Serbia to victory in the inaugural ATP Cup, is second only to Federer in amassing a host of Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship titles. He collected his first trophy in 2009 with victory over David Ferrer and successfully defended his title with a three-set victory over Mikhail Youzhny in a battle that was interrupted by torrential rain and had to be completed over two days, before making it three in a row with a straight-sets triumph over Federer in 2011.
After Federer defeated Andy Murray in the 2012 final, Djokovic returned to the winner's rostrum in 2013 by overcoming Tomas Berdych. He contested his fifth Dubai final in 2015 but was defeated by Federer, and in his most recent appearance in Dubai, in 2016, he was forced to retire after losing the first set of his quarter-final match against Feliciano Lopez due to an eye infection.
It's clear that Djokovic loves visiting Dubai, "Everyone on tour knows the fact that this is the most popular tournament of the year, as the quality of players and the organisation is the best on tour," he said upon his last visit. "Players feel the most comfortable here in Dubai. You always have three or four of the top 10 players in the world here, so we are always on the top of our game here.
"And Dubai has some of the best shopping in the world and with it being truly one of the most attractive tourist destinations with so much to do, it makes it the perfect host city for a world class ATP tournament."
Nothing has changed since he last competed in Dubai, with once again several of the world's top 10 vying to lift the coveted trophy.
Federer, at 38, is still as competitive as ever and will not easily surrender his crown as, with 103 titles, he edges ever closer to surpassing the all-time record of 109 titles held by Jimmy Connors. Tsitsipas is also certain to be a top contender, with 2019 victories over both Federer and Djokovic as well as current world number one Rafael Nadal on the Spaniard's favourite surface of clay.
While much of the attention will naturally fall on Djokovic, Federer and Tsitsipas, no-one should overlook the threat of Bautista Agut, who in 2019 enjoyed the best season of his career. Finishing the season inside the top 10 for the first time, he played a vital role as Spain emerged triumphant from the Davis Cup Finals, and he reached a Grand Slam semi-final, at Wimbledon, for the first time.
Other exciting players to catch include the eccentric but brilliant Gael Monfils, and even opponents such as Djokovic and Federer can rarely match his sometimes astonishing agility and spectacular shot-making that last season helped him not only reach the Dubai semi-finals but stretch Tsitsipas to a third set tiebreak in a battle that lasted just a minute under three hours.
Others to watch out for include combative Italian Fabio Fognini, who last season defeated Rafael Nadal, Roberto Bautista Agut and Andy Murray, veteran Jo Wilfried Tsonga, who is competing here for the first time in six years and has collected 18 career titles including two from 2019, and British number one Dan Evans who recently helped Britain to the Davis Cup semi-finals and the quarter-finals of the ATP Cup.
"The stage is set once again for a magnificent two weeks of world-class tennis, with one of the strongest men's and women's fields ever assembled in Dubai," said Tournament Director Salah Tahlak. "With so many top players confirmed, fans will have their pick on which world-class matches to watch on Centre Court with ticket prices starting at only AED55 for the first three days."
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free and held under the patronage of H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, begins with the WTA event which runs from 17th to 22nd February and features reigning Grand Slam champions Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep and Bianca Andreescu, and then continues between 24th and 29th February with the ATP tournament.
Tickets for the 17th - 29th February tournament are available at www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com. Organisers would like to remind fans that tickets may not be resold or transferred by anyone other than the organisers. Please ensure tickets are purchased from our ticket partner, Platinum List or at the Box Office (opens on 29th January).
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