Roger Federer could have earned 455 points by winning the title at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships where, in 2017, he lost in the second round. Federer would have been the favourite as Grigor Dimitrov and Lucas Pouille are the only top-20 players competing.
But why did the Swiss not play the tournament where he is a seven-time former champion? It's true, he wants to spend a 'quality time with his family', but there is also another reason behind his decision. In a recent interview with The National, tournament director Salah Talhak admitted that there was one factor that made Federer opt out of the Dubai Open.
'I understand and I believe whatever's good for him is good for us. You can`t really push him more. Had he not won in Rotterdam he would have definitely come here,' Talhak said. 'I really respect him, as a professional and as an athlete.
He’s on top of all athletes really, with all due respect to all the players, WTA and ATP, but I think he’s a really different personality. He’s so classy and has done well for the game, has done well for Dubai.
He’s a legend.' In the previous years, the Dubai Open had one of the best fields for an ATP 500, now this year things are different. 'For him, it would have been a good year to come and then maybe add another 500 points,' Talhak added.
'It would have been easier for him. It’s always difficult when (Rafael) Nadal and (Novak) Djokovic, Andy Murray and Stan (Wawrinka), none of them were here, so it would have been easy for him. Again, in the end, he decided with his coach and physios, they know him best.
As Tony said he has to look at it health-wise because in August he’s going to be 37 years old. For me, I can’t say anything, but that I wish him all the best.' Talhak is confident Federer will play in Dubai in 2019 and seek his eighth title: 'Proba y, because Tony (his agent) said yes, if we can plan things ahead, he will come back next year.' ALSO READ: Best Ad ever? Nike pays tribute to Roger Federer