Venus and Djokovic Ready
for Dubai Championships

DUBAI - Reigning champions Venus Williams and Novak Djokovic are looking forward to the challenge they will face when they return to Dubai this month to defend their titles at the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships.

By (KT Report)

Published: Wed 10 Feb 2010, 12:09 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:51 AM

The region’s leading tennis event not only offers an incredible $4 million in prize money but almost every top player in the world, so both know they will have to once again overcome the best there is if they are to repeat their 2009 successes.

Both players’ confidence levels have been boosted by a great start to the season, with both blazing their way to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open and Djokovic rising to number two on the increasingly-tight ATP World Tour rankings.

These successes build upon the terrific season they both enjoyed last year, with Williams winning in Acapulco the week after her triumph in Dubai, reaching the semifinals in Miami and Rome, and the finals of Wimbledon, Stanford and the Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha. During the season she overcame opponents including reigning Dubai champion Elena Dementieva and then sister Serena to reach the final in Dubai, world number one Dinara Safina at Wimbledon, Dementieva again in Stanford, and Svetlana Kuznetsova and Jelena Jankovic in nearby Doha.

“I think they do an excellent job with the tournament,” said Williams. “They really do care about running a great event and they care about the players. There is a difference here in Dubai. You enjoy the tournament and that makes you want to come back”, she added.

“It is a real privilege to have Novak Djokovic and Venus Williams returning to the Dubai Tennis Stadium to defend their titles,” said Salah Tahlak, Tournament Director.

“We have seen the level of tennis both players offer the Championships, and have continued right through to the present with some impressive form so far this year. This will stand both players in good stead to have further success here at the 2010 Championships,” added Tahlak.

Djokovic also had a great 2009, finishing as world number three for the third consecutive year.

He reached an amazing 10 finals in the season, winning five titles, in Belgrade, Beijing, Basel and Paris, in addition to Dubai, before reaching the finals in Miami, Monte Carlo, Rome, Halle and Cincinnati.

The Serb won more matches than any other player, earning 78 wins in his 97 matches, and his top-10 scalps included Roger Federer in Miami, Rome and Basel, Gilles Simon in the Dubai semifinals and in Cincinnati and Shanghai, Juan Martin Del Potro in Rome, Rafael Nadal in Cincinnati, the Paris Masters and London, Fernando Verdasco in Monte Carlo, at the US Open and Beijing, and Robin Soderling in Beijing and at the Paris Masters.

“Last year it (Dubai) was the first title of the year for me and it was very special because I had a lot of support,” said Djokovic.

“Every time I come back I just feel like I’m playing at home. A lot of people from my country live and work in Dubai and come to the tennis, and it really feels great if you have people behind you. It’s a very fast court and suitable for my game too, so I am really looking forward to coming back again.”

Both Williams and Novak Djokovic will have to be at their best as they battle a field that is second to none. Williams will have to survive a draw that includes the entire top 10, and Djokovic will be up against four-time former champion Roger Federer, 2008 winner Andy Roddick, Andy Murray, US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro and Barclays ATP World Tour winner Nikolay Davydenko.

“So far, only Roger Federer and Justine Henin have managed to successfully defend their titles here, so Venus Williams and Novak Djokovic know that they will face a formidable task,” said Colm McLoughlin, Managing Director of tournament owners and organisers Dubai Duty Free.

“Both have shown time and time again that they can beat anybody they face, so we can expect to see some fantastic battles as they fight to preserve their crowns at the Dubai Tennis Stadium.”

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