Roger Federer recently confirmed his participation at next month's Dubai Duty-Free Men's Open - a tournament that he has won a whopping eight times already. And upon the announcement of the news, tournament director Salah Tahlak extended warm words of welcome to the 39-year-old.
The Dubai Open is scheduled to begin in the third week of March, right after the preceding Qatar Open comes to an end. Roger Federer will be taking part in both events as part of his comeback to the tour after more than a year.
Salah Tahlak, meanwhile, is the first and till date only Arab man to be elected to the ATP Global Tournament Council four times in a row. Speaking about Roger Federer's return to Dubai, Tahlak sounded ecstatic about the news, mentioning how the event is one of Federer's favorites on the tour.
"Yes, we see that Roger [Federer] has entered and reverted to us," Salah Tahlak told Gulf News. "This is great news for us all and this is one of Federer’s favorite tournaments which he has said so many times before."
List of players who are expected to join Roger Federer in Dubai
As of now, seven of the top 15 players on the ATP tour have entered the Dubai Open, including World No. 3 Dominic Thiem. Based on the rankings, Roger Federer is expected to be the second seed, and as such will not face the Austrian before the final.
Andrey Rublev, Matteo Berrettini, Gael Monfils, Denis Shapovalov, Roberto Bautista Agut, Stan Wawrinka, Karen Khachanov, Borna Coric and Pablo Carreno Busta are some of the other big names confirmed for the event so far.
Teenage prodigy Jannik Sinner is also expected to take part in the Dubai Open. With a little help from the draw, Sinner could well fulfill his long-standing dream of playing against Roger Federer.
Salah Tahlak went on to speak about the star-studded line-up for the event, while also expressing his excitement for the WTA edition of the Dubai Open.
"We have an amazing line-up ready for both our tournaments," Tahlak said. "The fields for the WTA 500 and now the ATP 500 are looking strong and we can look forward to a great two weeks of tennis in March."
While several big names are expected to participate in Dubai, none are bigger than 20-time Slam champion Roger Federer. The Swiss would be hoping to get his comeback off to a good start by producing a strong show in the desert city.