Watch and bet on ATP Dubai live from Monday 22 February as four-time champion Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka lead the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships field.
Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships tennis is live from 22-28 February. Watch & bet on tennis live from Dubai at 365
The immensely-popular Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships highlight the month of February as the 500 ATP Dubai event attracts a strong field to its outdoor hard courts.
World no. 1 Novak Djokovic, the acknowledged current king of men’s tennis, aims to reclaim the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title from seven-time champion Roger Federer when ATP Dubai 2016 begins on Monday 22 February, joined by Stan Wawrinka and two-time Dubai runner-up Tomas Berdych.
First played in 1993, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is the biggest men’s tournament held in the Middle East and always attracts a strong field. The United Arab Emirates city, a global financial hub, hosts some of the biggest names in men’s tennis on the outdoor hard courts of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Centre, formerly known as the Aviation Club, which includes a Stadium court that is also a popular music venue. ATP Dubai takes place under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai.
Tomas Berdych is a two-time runner-up in Dubai (Marwan Naawani/AFP/Getty Images)
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships were upgraded to a 500-level event in 2001, making the tournament the largest ATP World Tour event in the Middle East, and highlights the month of February. The top players turn their attention to outdoor hard courts from mid-February onwards as they begin to prepare for March’s major events at Indian Wells and Dubai, and many of them choose to appear at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which has been voted the ATP World Tour 500 tournament of the year ten times.
Karel Novacek won the inaugural ATP Dubai tournament in 1993, defeating Fabrice Santoro in the final, and a number of big names would go on to claim the trophy – Goran Ivanisevic (1996, d. Albert Costa), Thomas Muster (1997, d. Ivanisevic), Juan Carlos Ferrer (2001, d. Marat Safin) – but the history of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships since 2003 has been dominated by two players above all: Novak Djokovic and especially Roger Federer.
Only two players not named Djokovic or Federer have won the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships since Roger Federer defeated Jiri Novak to win his first title in 2003, going on to win two more consecutive titles before his reign was interrupted by Rafael Nadal in 2006 and then Andy Roddick in 2008. Novak Djokovic took up the mantle next, equaling Federer’s feat of three consecutive titles when he monopolized the tournament between 2009 and 2011, but Federer struck back to take a fifth title in 2012, defeating Andy Murray in the final. Djokovic took the 2013 title, defeating Tomas Berdych, but Federer defeated him in turn in the semifinals of the 2014 edition and went on to beat Berdych in the final to claim an amazing sixth Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title.
Federer’s 2014 title signaled a resurgent season for the 17-time Grand Slam champion which saw him return to world no. 2 after winning five titles and reaching the Wimbledon final, and an even better season in 2015 would be heralded by an incredible seventh Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title. Runner-up to Djokovic at Wimbledon and the US Open, Federer was the only player to defeat Djokovic more than once through the world no. 1’s absurdly dominant season and the first of those came in the Dubai final as Federer played superb aggressive tennis to claim a 6-3, 7-5 victory and the Dubai crown.
With Federer sadly unable to defend his title due to recuperating from knee surgery, it’s Novak Djokovic who leads the field at the 2016 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships – not that that’s a bad thing. Djokovic continues to smash records and redefine dominance in the context of men’s tennis and is unbeaten so far in 2016 after triumphing in Doha and at the Australian Open. In Federer’s absence is there anyone who can stop Djokovic from taking a fifth ATP Dubai title? A strong field, including two-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka, two-time runner-up Tomas Berdych and rising Australian star Nick Kyrgios, will do their best to try when the 2016 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships begin on Monday 22 February.