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.
Watch ATP Dubai live:
Roger Federer is likely to bid for an amazing seventh title after winning in 2014 when the 2015 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships begin on Monday 23 February – will world no. 1 Novak Djokovic or two-time ATP Dubai finalist Tomas Berdych stand in his way?
Tomas Berdych has reached the ATP Dubai final twice (KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)
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.
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 Roger Federer.
Four-time ATP Dubai champion Novak Djokovic (MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)
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. The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships have been an integral part of Federer’s schedule for many years and he is likely to return in 2015 along with four-time champion Djokovic, who will be eager to reassert his dominance over Federer in Dubai, and two-time finalist Tomas Berdych when the 2015 ATP Dubai tournament begins on Monday 23 February.
Watch the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships live:
1. Go to bet365
and sign in or fill in your details to open an account;
2. Click 'live streaming' and select 'tennis' from the dropdown menu;
3. Watch ATP Dubai live online!