Dubai Tennis Championships Tournament Director Salah Tahlak says eight-time winner Roger Federer will be missed at this year's tournament and wished him a speedy recovery from knee surgery after the Swiss legend announced that he underwent knee surgery and will only be back for the grass court season earlier today.
Speaking to Gulf News, Tahlak commented, “Roger is special to Dubai and everyone here is always waiting for him to come and play here at our tournament. For sure, we will be missing him this time, but we all wish him a speedy recovery and hope to see him when the grass court season starts later this year,” Tahlak said he had received a call from Federer’s agent Tony Godsick about his withdrawal.
“At first it was shocking to hear such a horrible thing. But when one considers that this is for the health of a person then we can only wish him all the best. Tony told me that informing us in Dubai was the toughest call he had made."
While admitting that it was said for the event to not have Federer around, Tahlak said he is sure that the men's event will have a fantastic tournament anyways. “Technically, there won’t be too much of an impact simply because we have so many other top players like world number one Novak Djokovic, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Gael Monfils along with a host of other youngsters like Andrey Rubley and Karen Khachanov,.
No doubt, it is sad that Roger won’t be around this year, but I sincerely believe that most things happen for the best. I say let us be positive and we will certainly have a fantastic second week of tennis" Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free, was also disappointed but said he hoped to see the Swiss superstar back in Dubai in 2021.
“His victory here last year, the 100th title of his career, was a significant milestone, and he went on to enjoy another outstanding season. We wish him well in his recovery and look forward to not only watching his progress during the rest of the season but welcoming him back to Dubai in 2021."