Roger Federer recently confirmed his participation in the ATP 500 in Dubai scheduled for mid-March, a tournament that the Basel phenomenon has already won eight times. His latest success in 2019 also allowed him to take the 100th title of his extraordinary career, while last year the Swiss was unable to defend the title due to an operation on his right knee.
The Dubai Open will kick off in the third week of March, in that calendar slot traditionally reserved for the Indian Wells Masters 1000. Before heading to the United Arab Emirates, the 20-time Grand Slam champion will make his return to the field at the Qatar Open in Doha.
King Roger hasn't set foot on the pitch for over a year and has missed the Australian Open for the first time in the last 23 editions. The 39-year-old Swiss aims to be ready for Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics, which have been postponed by twelve months due to the global pandemic.
In a recent interview with Gulf News, Dubai tournament director Salah Tahlak expressed all his enthusiasm for the news of the Master's presence.
Tahlak on Roger Federer
"Yes, we see that Roger Federer has entered and reverted to us," Salah Tahlak told Gulf News.
"This is great news for us all and this is one of Federer’s favorite tournaments which he has said so many times before." As of now, seven of the top 15 players on the ATP tour have entered the Dubai Open, including World No.
3 Dominic Thiem. Based on the rankings, Roger Federer is expected to be the second seed, and as such will not face the Austrian before the final. Andrey Rublev, Matteo Berrettini, Gael Monfils, Denis Shapovalov, Roberto Bautista Agut, Stan Wawrinka, Karen Khachanov, Borna Coric and Pablo Carreno Busta are some of the other big names confirmed for the event so far.
"We have an amazing line-up ready for both our tournaments," Tahlak said. "The fields for the WTA 500 and now the ATP 500 are looking strong and we can look forward to a great two weeks of tennis in March."
On 8 March 2021, Novak Djokovic will surpass Roger Federer's record of 310 weeks spent as World No. 1 - irrespective of his or any other player's results. Djokovic will start his 311th week as World No. 1 on 8 March, making him the owner of one of the most coveted records in tennis.
Moreover, the Serb also has a great chance of winning his 18th Grand Slam this week, which would bring him within just two titles of the all-time record of 20.