Four time Dubai champion Novak Djokovic is back to contest the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, his first tournament since winning his fifth Australian Open last month.
The world number one arrived ahead of one of his favourite tournaments which starts on Monday, and his first stop was at Burj Al Arab, where he was met by the new General Manager, Mr Anthony McHale.
“With this event the hotels are superb and impressive to stay in and we receive incredible service. The organization team is fabulous. Dubai is one of the world’s most attractive destinations and locations in world at the moment, so coming here we enjoy. Plus Dubai residents are always seeing the top players here, so we have large energetic crowds to play for.”
“Everyone on tour knows the fact that this is the most popular tournament of the year, as the quality of players and the organization is the best on tour. Players feel the most comfortable here in Dubai. You always have 3-4 of the top 10 players in the world here, so we are always on the top of our game here.”
Dubai will also see Djokovic return to the scene of one of his greatest rivalries with world number two Roger Federer, who has taken the title six times. With ten Dubai titles between them, the two have dominated the event for the last twelve years.
“I enjoy the conditions here, as the courts play much faster than most tournaments. So you need to be ready.”
Djokovic’s life has changed significantly since his last appearance in Dubai, after being married in July just after winning his second Wimbledon crown , and welcoming his first child, son Stefan, in October last year.
“Currently I have a smooth and easy going momentum with myself, feeling like I have the energy to play well. Before Dubai I have not done much but relax and practice at home in Serbia. So I feel fresh and ready to go.”
“Being at home and reconnecting with my family are the most important parts of life, so I am in a much better playing mind-set than normal. Being with my son and wife are what keeps myself to be grounded, now time to get back to work.”
On his return to Burj Al Arab, Djokovic said “I love the location around the Burj Al Arab and the Souk at the Madinat, with so many great restaurants to sit outside and enjoy the ocean breezes in the evening it is a nice change from Europe. The coastline of Dubai is very picturesque and I find it relaxing to hang on the beach, as what Dubai has done to beachfront is lovely and great for families.”
“Dubai has some of the best shopping in the world and with it being truly one of the most attractive tourist destinations with so much to do, it makes it the perfect host city for a world class ATP tournament.”
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships ATP tournament commences on 23rd February with the finals on 28th February. Along with Djokovic, the tournament will star defending champion and world number two Roger Federer, Australian Open runner-up Andy Murray and two-time Dubai finalist Tomas Berdych.
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free, and held under the patronage of H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Tickets for the event are available from the Box Office at the Dubai Tennis Stadium, Garhoud which opens from 9am to 9pm daily. Grandstand tickets can also be bought online at http://www.timeouttickets.com/. For further information about tickets, prices and the tournament visit www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com.