Dubai: Hot prospects Bernard Tomic and Somdev Devvarman have been billed as the ones to watch at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, ahead of men’s play at the Dubai Tennis Stadium from February 25 to March 2.
Tomic, 21, of Australia and Devvarman, 28, of India will be hoping to upset the likes of defending champion Roger Federer and World No. 1 and Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic.
They will also be up against the likes of two-time Wimbledon semi-finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 2009 US Open winner Juan Martin Del Potro and 2012 Davis Cup winner Tomas Berdych.
Tomic has just come off the back of a phenomenally successful Australian hardcourt season, where he won all his singles matches at The Hopman Cup, including one against Djokovic (6-4, 6-4).
He also claimed his first ATP World Tour title, The Apia International in Sydney, last month, then drew praise from Federer when they clashed in the third round of the Australian Open (6-4, 7-6, 6-1).
Devvarman was the US National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) champion for two years running in 2007 and 2008 and won singles gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and then doubles gold at the Asian Games later that year.
“These two players are exciting to watch and have enjoyed considerable success,” said Colm McLoughlin, executive vice-chairman of the tournament’s owners and organisers Dubai Duty Free. “Although they will face strong opposition from six members of the world’s top ten, no one would dismiss their chances of advancing far in the tournament.”
Tomic will be making his Dubai debut, but Devvarman has already played this event twice, reaching the second round in 2010, only to lose 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 to Marcos Baghdatis, before the misfortune of drawing Federer in the first round in 2011, losing 6-3, 6-3. Last year he was unable to play after a shoulder injury ruled him out of the first six months of 2012.
Devvarman has since proved he is capable of competing in Dubai after taking World No.26 Jerzy Janowicz to five sets in the second round of the Australian Open last month. His injury lay-off mirrors Tomic’s recovery from overscheduling and exhaustion during the latter half of last season, and now both players will be looking to continue their successful re-emergence.
Tomic said of that slump: “It was obviously hard, but I’ve learnt [from the experience]. It’s just a learning curve. I’m happy it all happened in a way because you learn from your mistakes. Now I can continue to go forward and look to something bright this year.
“I really committed and worked extremely hard over the [Australian] summer. I learnt a lot from myself. I learnt when you do work hard and when you’re disciplined and you put a lot of hours in on the court, you improve a lot and you improve quickly. It’s just a matter of time when I get up to the big boys in the top 10. It’s a challenge but I’ve committed myself to it.”
Tickets for the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships are on sale at the Dubai Tennis Stadium in Garhoud from 9am to 9pm daily. Tickets range from Dh50-450, with season tickets also available.
For more information, visit www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com, or call 00971 (0)4-417-2415.