Roger Federer returns to Dubai, seeking ninth title in the desert


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Roger Federer returns to Dubai, seeking ninth title in the desert

World no. 3 Roger Federer will kick off the season at the Australian Open from January 20, with his second stop in the calendar coming between February 24-29 in Dubai. The eight-time Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships winner will compete at one of his favorite events for the 15th time, seeking title defense after lifting the milestone trophy a year ago that made him only the second player in the Open era with 100 ATP titles.

That proved to be a lucky charm for Federer as he went on to win three more titles in 2019, extending his tally to 103 and moving just six away from Jimmy Connors who is the record holder with 109. Dubai is one of the unique places for Roger Federer, making a debut there in 2002 and lifting the first title already in 2003, going all the way without losing a set.

Federer was the last man standing in Dubai in the next two years as well, enjoying the city more and more and buying a house where he started to spend the offseasons. In 2006, Rafael Nadal ended Roger's streak in Dubai before the Swiss conquered the fourth title in the last five years in 2007, skipping a couple of editions after an early loss to Andy Murray in 2008.

Returning in 2011, Roger finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic and bounced back a year later when he defeated Andy Murray in the title match. Federer was the player to beat in Dubai in 2014 and 2015 as well, having to wait until 2019 to deliver that eighth title following a 6-4, 6-4 triumph over Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The young Greek will try to avenge that loss next February, signing to play Dubai together with Roberto Bautista Agut, Denis Shapovalov, Marin Cilic, Hubert Hurkacz, Gael Monfils, Fabio Fognini, Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev!