Dubai: Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova is hoping to be fourth time lucky here as she attempts to break her ‘final jinx' when the main draw of the Dubai Duty Free Women's Open gets under way at the Dubai Tennis Stadium tomorrow.
Last year's losing finalist Kuznetsova had also made it to the last stages in 2004 and 2008 but she is yet to win the title here. "Besides coming here and enjoying the warmth of the sun, it would be nice to go one better and win the title," the two-time Grand Slam champion admitted at the official draw ceremony of the tournament yesterday evening.
Attending the draw was Colm McLoughlin, executive vice-chairman, Dubai Duty Free; Salah Tahlak, senior vice-president, corporate communications, Dubai Duty Free and tournament director; Abdul Rahman Falaknaz, vice-president, Tennis Emirates; and Donna Kelso, WTA Supervisor.
"I love it here, especially when the temperatures back home are minus ten and even minus 27 last week. I love to spend a lot of time in Dubai during pre-season preparation too, and hope I can come up with a better performance this year," she said. "There is no secret, but just continue doing harder and harder on court and hopefully one day the title will be mine."
Kuznetsova, who opens her campaign here against Germany's Julia Goerges, was one of three players present at the official draw along with eighth seed Jelena Jankovic and fellow Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
"It is celebratory time for tennis this year due to the 20th anniversary celebrations. There will be an air of great excitement around the Dubai Tennis Stadium and the growth of tennis here has been in tandem with the growth of Dubai Duty Free," said McLoughlin.
Jankovic, who owns an apartment in Dubai, was also looking forward to a great tournament this year. "I am not getting any younger, though I am only 26," Jankovic said. "There is a completely new set of young players coming into women's tennis and it is getting difficult each day," Jankovic said.
"Dubai is a very special place for me and I have great memories here. Hopefully I will continue in the tournament and do well this week," the Serbian added as she prepares to face Petra Cetkovska of the Czech Republic in the first round.
Owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free, the two-week long Dubai Tennis Championships is held under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.