Dubai: Roger Federer, a former eight-time champion one here, has at last confirmed for next month’s Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open.
“Yes, we see that Roger [Federer] has entered and reverted to us,” Dubai Tennis Championships Tournament Director Salah Tournament told Gulf News. “This is great news for us all and this is one of Federer’s favourite tournaments which he has said so many times before,” Tahlak added.
Federer had set the rumour mills spinning late on Monday – the deadline for next month’s Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open - on his intentions of making Dubai his second stop on his 2021 calendar as the Swiss ace stages a comeback.
The 39-year-old Federer, who had skipped the Dubai event in 2020 following surgery on his knee, has also missed this year’s Australian Open as he continued his recovery before playing at his first tournament in more than a year at the ATP 250 Qatar Open, starting on March 8.
Federer had announced his return to the ATP Tour last month but had not released the later part of his schedule. But now the Swiss ace – who is currently continuing with his preparations in Dubai – has added the ATP 500 Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open to his itinerary.
The two-week Dubai Tennis Championships will get under way with the WTA 500 event from March 7, to be followed by the men’s tournament from March 14.
His comeback tournament next month will mark Federer’s first appearance in Qatar since 2012. It has long attracted an elite entry list as Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have both won the Qatar ExxonMobile Open twice, Rafael Nadal once and Federer has raised the golden falcon trophy on three occasions.
This year, the field in Doha is loaded with 10 members of the Top-20 including world No. 3 Dominic Thiem, defending champion Andrey Rublev, Gael Monfils, Stan Wawrinka and Denis Shapovalov.
The Dubai entry deadline was on Monday [February 8] and Federer is expected to join the star-studded field of at least eight of the top-15 players led by defending champion Novak Djokovic, alongside Thiem, last year’s runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev, Gael Monfils, Denis Shapovalov and Roberto Bautista-Agut.
Going back to his first win in 2003, Federer has won the trophy a record eight times so far – his last instance coming in 2019 when he completed his 100th tournament triumph.
Federer, who spends a substantial amount of time in Dubai especially during the winter, had moved here some time in December to continue his preparations for the season. The Swiss is well loved here, and matches involving Federer are normally huge draws.
“We have an amazing line-up ready for both our tournaments. The fields for the WTA 500 and now the ATP 500 are looking strong and we can look forward to a great two weeks of tennis in March,” the Tournament Director confided.
Till date, Federer has won 103 ATP singles titles, including 20 Grand Slam singles titles as he stays tied for the most ever in men’s competition with good friend Rafael Nadal. The Swiss ace also has 28 ATP Masters 1000 titles and a record six ATP Finals.