WATCH: When Roger Federer Played Against Andre Agassi on a Helipad

Published 02/22/2021, 12:18 PM EST
DUBAI, UAE – FEBRUARY 22: In preparation for the Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open, tennis legend Andre Agassi of the USA and the World’s No. 1 Roger Federer of Switzerland, couldn’t resist the temptation to have a friendly ‘hit’ on the world’s most unique tennis court, the Helipad of the Burj Al Arab, the world’s most luxurious hotel on February 22, 2005, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Standing 321 metres high on a man made island, the majestic Burj Al Arab is without doubt the most recognizable hotel in the world. The hotel’s helipad, which is situated 211 metres high covers a surface area of 415 square metres. Roger Federer is the reigning champion of the Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open and is making his third appearance in the tournament. For Agassi this is his first time to appear in the ATP tournament where he has already progressed to the second round having beaten Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic. (Photo by Getty Images for Dubai Duty Free)


Throughout tennis history, there have been some very interesting matches. ‘The Battle of The Surfaces’ is one such match that featured Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer facing off in a half-grass, half-clay court. However, this one wasn’t as exciting as the one played back in 2005.

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In this match, Federer played against Andre Agassi on the helipad at the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai. This helipad is 212 meters above sea level which is an unprecedented altitude for tennis players. This made the contest very interesting and both men surely enjoyed it.

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Helipad Battle: Roger Federer vs Andre Agassi

The exhibition helipad contest was played to promote the Dubai Duty-Free Championship in 2005. The match lasted only 52 minutes as Roger thrashed Agassi 6-3, 6-1. Despite this loss, Andre was thrilled about playing on a helipad. He said,

“This was an absolutely amazing experience. When you first get over how high you are and start playing, it’s an absolute joy and it was a great time. I had no issues with the height as long as I didn’t have to bungee jump off the side.”

To preserve the memories of this match, a helicopter was circling the helipad and it filmed the entire contest. The idea of doing this came from none other than Roger Federer. He said,

“I didn’t know at the time, when we were doing this, that it was going to have such an impact. I had an idea of how we could make it better; we had a helicopter, which was going to film it all around, really show on what kind of a platform we were playing, instead of just having a picture taken of the hotel.”

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The match at Burj Al Arab was a very unique one in tennis history and many hilarious stories have sprung from it. Roger revealed some of them and said, “Ever since, everybody talks about it and I still hear stories about people saying, ‘OK, can we play tennis there’. They are told, ‘We don’t have one [a court]’, but they go, ‘No, no, I know you do’.”

It has now been 16 years since that match and fans are waiting for another encounter on the helipad. Considering that so many exhibitions are played during the year, hopefully, we will see one hosted there.

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Rishi Karthikeyan

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