Swiss world number 1, Roger Federer has chosen to miss next week’s Dubai Tennis Championship. The reason that he has stated is that he wishes to spend time with his family. Tournament director Salah Tahlak revealed that Federer will miss the tournament for the first time since 2010. Besides his personal reasons, The Swiss ace is preparing for the defence of his Indian Wells and Miami Open titles.
Tahlak said, “I have been in touch with his agent and the last time we spoke he informed me that Federer would rather spend some quality time at home with his wife and kids than make the trip to Dubai. This decision has nothing to do with Dubai, but it’s simply because he doesn’t want to take any chances during the build-up to his defence of the two titles in Indian Wells and Miami. In fact he has conveyed his willingness to come and play in Dubai next year. As tournament owners and organisers we totally respect the wishes of the player even though he has made Dubai his second home while also winning a record seven titles at our tournament. We are convinced that he will return here next year.”
Last week, Federer accepted a wild card to participate in the Rotterdam Open. In the process, he became the oldest world number one in tennis history. This turn of events could have played a role in his decision not to participate in the Dubai Tennis Championship. The 20-time grand slam champion has attributed his schedule management as the reason behind his recent revival. His appearance in the United Arab Emirates was unlikely when he had confirmed his intention to play in Rotterdam.
As result, world number five Grigor Dimitrov will be seeded first and France’s Lucas Pouille is the only other top 20 player to compete. With Federer’s absence, Rafael Nadal will undoubtedly seize the opportunity to eat into Federer’s 345-point advantage. Spain’s Nadal will be participating in the Mexican Open in Acapulco. However, the catch is that he must win the event to close the gap by the time Indian Wells and Miami arrive in March.