Roger Federer returning to seek record 8th Dubai title

By Sheena Amos

Roger Federer

DUBAI 13 January 2019: A blockbuster field has been announced for the 2019 edition of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which is set to take place between 17th February and 2nd March.

The dynamic duo of seven-time Dubai champion Roger Federer, and sensational Scot Andy Murray are set to make a grand return to the tournament, while world No.1 Simona Halep headlines a stellar WTA line-up that includes nine of the world’s top-10.

“We are thrilled to once again welcome the world’s top players to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free. “Both the men’s and women’s fields are incredibly strong with a host of current and former champions, young up-and-comers, and new faces to Dubai all set for a gripping two weeks of action.”

Tickets for one of the most highly regarded events on the UAE sporting calendar went on sale on 10th January. Tickets will later be available at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium Box Office, which will open on Monday 28th January 2019.

Record 8th Title

Federer will be bidding for a record eighth Dubai title in what will be a remarkable 14th appearance at the event. He continues to amaze, hitting more career milestones during yet another stunning year – the 2018 season began with him claiming the Australian Open title, which was followed by three more crowns to leave him just one short of the magic one hundred career singles titles.

British three-time Grand Slam winner Murray, who was crowned champion in Dubai in 2017, is on a comeback mission of his own as he continues to make his way up the rankings following hip surgery. The fan favourite famously stunned Federer in his debut match in Dubai back in 2008 and will no doubt bring his A-game for his seventh participation at the tournament.

British three-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray was crowned champion in Dubai in 2017

The star duo will face fierce competition from the likes of world No.7 Marin Cilic, No.9 Kei Nishikori, No.11 Karen Khachanov, No. 12 Borna Coric and No.15 Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The women’s tournament promises to be a true thriller. Two-time defending champion and Dubai Duty Free’s WTA ambassador Elina Svitolina will be keen to take her tremendous end-of-season form that saw her clinch the WTA Finals trophy into this year, where she’ll be going for a hat-trick in Dubai. She is one of just three women, alongside Justine Henin and Venus Williams, to successfully defend her title in Dubai.

“I think I have nothing to prove anymore to anyone. It was definitely a good statement for myself and a good boost,” Svitolina said after her WTA Finals victory in Singapore.

Elina Svitolina will be going for a hat-trick in Dubai in 2019

The Ukrainian will have plenty of rivals to contend with, including her fellow Dubai Duty Free WTA ambassadors Halep and Caroline Wozniacki, both of whom have tasted success in the emirate in the past.

Halep ended the season at the summit of the rankings for a second consecutive year thanks to a career-best 2018 that saw her grab a maiden Grand Slam title at Roland Garros. The 27-year-old Romanian, a champion in Dubai in 2015, held onto the No.1 spot throughout the entire season, except for the four weeks in which she was replaced at the top by Wozniacki.

Simona Halep was the champion in Dubai in 2015

Wozniacki’s long-time quest for a first Major also came to fruition last year as the popular Dane triumphed at the Australian Open in January, defeating Halep in the final. To add to what was a landmark year, she became engaged to former NBA player David Lee.

Caroline Wozniacki will join the women’s tournament

One of the biggest revelations of the 2018 season, Naomi Osaka, is also Dubai-bound with the US Open champion set to make her third consecutive appearance in the UAE. The world No.5 made history in New York last year when she became the first Japanese, female or male, to win a Grand Slam singles title. She did it by defeating her idol Serena Williams in the final.

Other top draws in the women’s field in Dubai include reigning Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber, two-time Major winner Petra Kvitova, and exciting young talent Daria Kasatkina, who delighted the UAE crowd last February on her way to the final.

ATP Dubai Tennis Championships 2017