Roger Federer will be taking the court for the first time since triumphing at last month’s Australian Open when he returns for the upcoming Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Federer is the third seed behind world No. 1 Andy Murray and third-ranked Stan Wawrinka.
The 35-year-old Swiss is seven-time champion in Dubai with a 47-5 lifetime record–including 10-0 in his last 10 matches (titles in 2014 and 2015). He and Murray helped kick off this season’s festivities–which mark the 25th anniversary of the tournament–with a friendly beach tennis match in front of the Burj Al Arab and Jumeirah Al Naseem hotels on Friday.
“I’m looking forward to playing, especially on the anniversary of 25 years here in Dubai,” Federer said. “It’s nice to be part of a tournament celebrating something. I’ve had some great years here in Dubai. I wanted to be in good shape and ready for the conditions so I came early this year.
The players like this tournament so much; it’s well-organized and well-run with good crowds. With the hotel and everything on site, it’s so convenient. Today was a nice way to start the celebration of 25 years. Now I can’t wait for the tournament to start.”
Federer will go up against Benoit Paire in the opening round, while Malek Jaziri is Murray’s first opponent.
“It was good fun today playing on the beach,” Murray commented. “I’ve never done that and the sun came out for us so that was a good start to the day. I enjoy coming to Dubai. I’ve played here a number of years. I feel refreshed and looking forward to competing again.”
Murray has not played since getting stunned by Mischa Zverev in round four of the Australian Open. He is still in search of his first title in 2017, having also fallen to Novak Djokovic in the Doha final.