Roger Federer's quest for the 100th singles title of his illustrious career had ended at the 2019 Dubai Open. The then 37-year-old Swiss beat his Australian Open conqueror Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets to join Jimmy Connors (109) as the only players with a triple digit singles title haul.
However, a knee surgery following a semifinal run at the 2020 Australian Open (where he lost to Novak Djokovic) means that the record 20-time Grand Slam champion will not defend his title in the desert.
You may also like: 3 milestones Federer achieved at the 2020 Australian Open
Instead, eight-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic returns to Dubai for the first time since a quarterfinal exit against Feliciano Lopez in the 2016 edition of the competition. The 32-year-old Serb, fresh off a title run at the Australian Open, would look to extend his perfect start to the 2020 season.
On that note, let us have a look at the players who have triumphed multiple times at the ATP 500 tournament which started in 1993.
#2 Novak Djokovic (4 titles)
Through 26 editions of the Dubai Open, which became an ATP 500 tournament when the series was conceptualized in 2009, Djokovic is one of only two players to have won multiple titles here.
The Serb lost in the quarterfinals and semifinals respectively in his first two appearances at the Dubai Open in 2007-08, before reeling off a three-peat in the next three years. He added a fourth title to his kitty in 2013.
You may also like: 3 milestones Djokovic accomplished at the 2020 Australian Open
Djokovic, along with Roberto Bautista Agut, are the only two former winners in the 2020 Dubai field. A title run for the reigning Australian Open winner would extend his perfect 13-0 start to the season.
You may also like: 4 milestones awaiting Djokovic in 2020
#1 Roger Federer (8 titles)
Making his 13th appearance at the Dubai Open in 2019, Federer lifted a record-extending 8th title at the tournament by beating young Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas in the title match.
Federer became the first multiple-time champion at the Dubai Open in 2004 when he beat Spaniard Feliciano Lopez in a three-set title match. He then completed a three-peat the following year.
A set away from a fourth consecutive title at the tournament, Rafael Nadal denied the dominant World No. 1 in a competitive 2006 final. But Federer would not be denied for long, as he beat Russian Mikhail Youzhny in the title match in 2007.
After being beaten by Djokovic in the 2011 final, Federer captured his fifth Dubai Open title in 2012, and added further titles in 2014-15 and 2019.