Dubai: It’s perhaps hard to believe, but Roger Federer’s Dubai debut had ended with a fine and a resolve.
The fine had come from then Tournament Director Jeff Chapman, while the resolve came from the player himself.
Then ranked No. 14, Federer made his Dubai debut in 2002, arriving on a Monday a few hours after winning the doubles crown in Rotterdam.
Then 21, the Swiss ace had no problems winning 6-3, 6-4 against Adrian Voinea in the first round. He looked rather jaded in his 3-6, 1-6 loss to Germany’s Rainer Schuttler 24 hours later.
That result saw Chapman withhold Federer’s prize money purse of $12,450 (Dhs 45,700) and appearance fee.
The organisers then sent a tape of the Round Two match to the ATP as evidence against Federer’s lack of effort.
The ATP decreed that the organisers pay up the prize money, but organisers deemed it fit to hold back the appearance cash on condition that Federer returns in 2003.
He did return, as promised, but as a different player. He was armed with a huge load of resolve to win the next three editions in-a-row with and in the next few years, Federer annexed another four crowns — in 2007, 2012, 2014 and 2015 — and take his tally to seven.