Grigor Dimitrov will return to Dubai for just the second time, and first since 2011 as he headlines a Federer-less field.
World No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov will headline the field at next month’s Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which is missing notable regulars like Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and last year’s winner, Andy Murray, who is recovering from hip surgery.
Dimitrov, who entered the top-three for the first time after winning the ATP Finals last November, will be making just his second Dubai appearance, and first since 2011.
He is joined by Dubai resident Lucas Pouille, Richard Gasquet, Roberto Bautista Agut, Karen Khachanov, Damir Dzumhur, Borna Coric with Italian world No. 73 Thomas Fabbiano the last direct entrant into the draw.
Federer, a seven-time champion and resident of Dubai for nearly a decade, was shocked in the second round by Evgeny Donskoy last year in the emirate.
The 36-year-old world No. 2 has been cutting down on his schedule to lengthen his career, and it looks like Dubai didn’t make the cut on his calendar this season. Alternatively, he could be playing Acapulco, which coincides with the Dubai week on the ATP calendar.
Acapulco used to be played on clay for 20 years before the tournament switched its surface to hard courts in 2014. Since then, it has been directly competing with Dubai — also played on hard courts — when it comes to attracting the best players in the world.
Djokovic, who told Sport360 last month that he was still undecided on whether he will play the Dubai/Acapulco week and that it will depend on how he is feeling physically, chose the tournament in Mexico last year over a trip to the UAE. Rafael Nadal also played Acapulco in 2017, losing the final to Sam Querrey.
This year, Acapulco features a marquee line-up that includes Nadal, Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem, Kei Nishikori and Juan Martin del Potro.
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships takes place from February 19 to March 3, starting with the WTA event, followed by the ATP (starts February 26).
Grandstand ticket prices for the WTA event start at Dh55 for opening rounds to Dh735 for the ATP finals, with daily Prime A and Prime B tickets and season tickets also available (all inclusive of VAT).
Tickets went on sale online on Thursday January 18 at www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com/en/tickets, and will be available at the Box Office from Thursday January 25.