The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship Tournament Director Salah Talhak is looking forward to welcome Roger Federer back in the United Arab Emirates again. The Swiss won seven titles there and he committed to the event after not playing there in 2018.
'Roger loves playing in Dubai, so it is never a challenge to bring him back to a tournament that he clearly enjoys,' Talhak told Tennis World USA when asked about the challenges of bringing Federer back in the tournament.
'Roger has a base here and trains here regularly, he is a great friend of the tournament having won seven times and played 13 times. He often says this is one of his favourite tournaments and we are happy to welcome him back this year.'
Last year, Federer played in Rotterdam without taking any appearance fee. Was Dubai ready to offer him a fee to play in Dubai? 'Roger made his decision to play Rotterdam and that is his prerogative and we respected his opinion to do so.
It is up to each player to determine their schedule for tournaments and other commitments.' Federer always promotes the Dubai tournament off-court through funny activities. In 2017, he played tennis on the sand with Andy Murray.
What are the plans for this year? 'In 2017, we marked the tournament’s 25thanniversary and we thought it would be good to take Roger and Andy back to the scene (the beach looking on to Burj Al Arab) of many of our photo shoots which involved Burj Al Arab – where famously we had the shoot with Roger and Agassi on the helipad.
The Burj is an iconic building and that shoot reached a worldwide audience and put Dubai and the tournament firmly on the map. We wanted to mark the 25thanniversary by featuring a fun game of tennis on the sand in front of this building, and again it reached a huge audience.
This year, as always, we are planning a number of shoots with the players, all of which are aimed at highlighting the diverse city of Dubai and the many wonderful locations that are landmarks in this great city.' ALSO READ: Rafael Nadal: Worse players than David Ferrer won a Grand Slam title