Dubai: The tournament director of the Dubai Tennis Championships has called on the tennis faithfuls to avail of tickets much in advance and avoid last-minute disappointment when the competition kicks off later this weekend.
The two-week championships will get under way with the women’s WTA Premier 5 tournament with qualifying rounds from February 15 [Friday], while the ATP 500 men’s event will start the following week till its final on March 2.
Tickets for the two tournaments have already gone on sale online [www.platinumlist.net] and at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium’s box office from last month.
Tahlak, who has been with Dubai Duty Free since 1992, is currently executive vice-president, Corporate Services while doubling up as tournament director.
At the end of last season, he was re-voted as a Member of the ATP International Group Council, the official body that run’s men’s professional tennis on a worldwide basis.
Now excited to get Dubai back into “tennis-mode,” Tahlak doesn’t want genuine fans and spectators to return disappointed when the competition starts.
“We have gone back to 2014 pricing for tickets this year. That’s a huge drop of around 45 per cent for tickets and I would urge fans to pick up their tickets fast and avoid disappointment,” Tahlak told Gulf News.
“We’ve got a strong field as usual for both tournaments. But when you have the big names like Roger [Federer] and fast-upcoming player [Stefanos] Tsitsipas, there is so much more of an interest in this championships not just from the UAE, but from other countries as well,” he added.
Back-to-back Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka is in the women’s field along with fellow 2018 Grand Slam winners Caroline Wozniacki, Simona Halep and Angelique Kerber and two-time Dubai champion Elina Svitolina. They will be joined by Australian Open runner-up Petra Kvitova and former Grand Slam champions Garbine Muguruza and Jelena Ostapenko.
The women’s week will be followed by an equally thrilling men’s competition headed by seven-time champion Federer, 2018 winner and recent Doha champion Roberto Bautista Agut, former US Open winner Marin Cilic, two-time finalist Tomas Berdych and Japan’s Kei Nishikori, who is making his debut in Dubai.
“Traditionally, we have lined up a strong field for both tournaments. But this year we are stronger than ever and we want UAE residents to be part of this tennis excitement. In addition, we have several off-the-court happenings that people should take advantage of,” Tahlak noted.