In 2005, Roger Federer and Andre Agassi played a round of tennis on a helipad converted into a grass tennis court in Dubai, with no fencing or safety boundaries, as a marketing stunt for the Dubai Tennis Championships.
The stunt was the idea of Salah Talak, the director of the Dubai Tennis Championships, who at the time was struggling to attract spectators and enough elite athletes to the event.
"A marketing stunt so extreme, that it would be impossible for tennis fans not to be talking about tennis in Dubai."
After persuading Federer and Agassi to play, Talak's marketing team decided to enlist the services of the 5-star Burj Al-Arab hotel, and its helipad was converted into a tennis court.
On February 22, after a month of negotiations, Federer and Agassi played the coolest tennis match in history, hundreds of feet above the ground.
Agassi recalled the experience with joy.
"This was an absolutely amazing experience. When you first get over how high you are and start playing, It's an absolute joy and I had a great time," said Andre Agassi.
Federer revealed the incredible idea of capturing pictures from a helicopter was his.
"I had an idea of how we could make it better; we had a helicopter which was going to film it all around, instead of just having a picture taken from the hotel. It can really tell how high up we are and I think that made the difference," Federer recalled
Talak later went on record saying the match cost them a little under $25,000 to put together but it was worth it since it has now been ingrained in popular tennis culture.
Aslan Karatsev wins his first career title in Dubai
Roger Federer won the Dubai Tennis Championships the year he and Agassi participated in the helipad caper, but he pulled out in 2021.
In the women's singles, the WTA 1000 event was won by World No.3 Garbine Muguruza. The Spaniard dropped only one set during the entire tournament.
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