Federer, Murray headline loaded Dubai draw

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.

48 Comments on Federer, Murray headline loaded Dubai draw

  1. I’m really interested to see where the World #1’s level is at since he’s had some significant rest. If he is back to playing at his highest level, I think that he has a good shot at his maiden Dubai title, as well as finally ending the 5-match losing streak against Federer. Even though Fed played at a high level in Melborne and could very well continue that level in Dubai, potentially plowing through the field as he often does at that tournament, I think that Murray’s chances to finally beat Fed again are greater than before because Murray is arguably at his peak and Fed is 35. Also, Murray has beaten Federer in Dubai in the past, albeit in 2008 when Fed struggled by his standard. Then again, in recent years Dubai has been Federer’s stomping grounds, so who knows! It’s too hard to tell what to expect when we don’t know what their post-Australian Open forms are like yet. In terms of Stan, even though he’s defending champion, I’m never sure what to expect from him outside of the majors…

  2. Yeah,like kevin i can’t wait to see how Andy is going to respond about his loss in Melbourne…sure,Mischa playing great and have a clear game plan and surprised Andy by it but we also can say that Andy lost due to the pressure of being no 1…so,it’s really interesting to see how he’s going to handle this situation once again…

    I hope,he will succeed..novak’s not there this year[surprise!surprise!why he chose to play Acapulco when he had so many success in Dubai?Is it because the ‘field’ is a little bit easy in Acapulco instead of Dubai?wondering!wondering!]..the only problem Andy will face is in The Great Roger federer…So…Bring it on guys!!!!Woooohoooo!!!

      • rc…ha ha ha…yeah,you’re right!Who wouldn’t want to go to Acapulco??Honestly rc…i think Nole don’t want to get too physical just yet..doing that at IW or Miami worth more than here…

      • A bit slower conditions than Dubai closer to slow courts in Indian Wells. Conditions suit him better particularly when he’s trying to regain his form.

        Shouldn’t come as that big a surprise.

  3. Murray is in unfamiliar territory as Top Dog and will continue to struggle with that mental target on his back.

    Roger over CryBaby in the final.

    #NID

  4. The title should be decided in the semis, by the Federer Murray match.
    Who’s gonna win it? Well, in 2014 and 15 it seemed like Federer actually knew exactly how to win against Muzz, but it was two years ago and Murray has been playing as good as he ever was in 2016.

    Conditions are good for both, but we know how good Fed is in Dubai. I think it’s gonna be a three setter to decide the title, and I’m not even going to make a guess.

    As to why Djokovic took Acapulco instead of Dubai – might be overthinking here but my guess is that he was afraid of losing to Federer on the quicker courts again.

  5. Novak may have chosen to play Accapulco instead of Dubai to avoid a resurgent Federer hmm ?, what about a newly confident Rafa ?, the player that really shouldve won the AO final, just curious ? ….

  6. Federer says that he does not see himself as the favorite in Dubai. He says that the amount of time that has passed since Aussie Open is too much time off for him to come in playing at the same level he was at in Melbourne. He also says that the courts are playing faster in Dubai than they were in Melbourne. I understand all that, but I still think that anything less than a semifinal run in Dubai could be considered a disappointment for him, especially given his past success there.

      • He was trying to make it sound like the difference in court speed will make it harder, even though he knows damn well that we all know he generally kills it fast hard courts like Dubai… Who’s he kidding haha? I’m pretty sure that every time he has won Dubai, the previous tournament he played on was slower than Dubai (except for possibly Rotterdam). 🙂

  7. Don’t think Fed will win the title…he is not that committed to a 500 tourney…he just happens to be there, living there makes it easy with his family being there with him…on top of it, the court suits him so he will enjoy while he can…Andy should win the title though, he will be under less pressure now…
    As for Novak…smart move to play Acapulco…mind games and somewhat putting pressure on Rafa…he knows his biggest obstacle to winning titles on clay especially the RG title is resurgent Rafa…Novak wants to test the waters and see if he could beat Rafa again on his beloved clay to stop Rafa from gaining too much confidence…In-form high on confidence Rafa is unbeatable…Novak will want to prevent it from happening…will Rafa be intimidated or encoraged by Novak’s sudden presence? We shall see…
    Vamos Rafa!

  8. Did not bother checking on Acapulco, never watched that tourney anyway, did not find it relevant. However, still think Novak wants to stop Rafa from gaining too much confidence, makes it even eaiser if it’s played on HC..
    And, still think Andy will win Dubai! Could be wrong of course.., we shall see…

      • Guess, because big names had always chosen to play Dubai instead and it stole all the attention, at least when I am concerned…or it was me being too busy at this time of the year to watch tennis… 😀

        • Acapulco has stronger draw this year – 5 top ten players except that Raonic has to withdraw due to injury. They also have Goffin the in form player too, and Delpo plus some big hitters/servers like Sock and Isner.

          Dubai has Murray, Stan and then Fed. Berdych, Monfils out of top ten now and both not doing well lately, so the Dubai draw is comparatively easier.

    • Also Djoko better take care of his own game first before even thinking of stopping Rafa or any of the big guys!

      He has his own game to worry about!

      • Hmm, agreed Novak’s game is not top notch, but Rafa’s mental blocks when facing Nole might be a bigger issue…Novak has one HC title this year, beaten No 1 player on tour, irrelevant of his early loss on rather fast AO…I Hope Rafa can overcome his ‘losing the match he should have won’ trend…I hope you are right and Rafa turns strong both physically and mentally..

        • If Rafa can’t even beat a subpar Djoko, then I’m afraid he has to say bye bye to any more slam titles! And, I’ll be very disappointed with him for mentally collapsing against a subpar Djoko! Of course if the formidable Djoko turns up to play then it’s a different story.

        • Also it’s very strange to say that Djoko’s loss at AO is irrelevant, given that he owns that place! It’s not like Djoko can’t win on fast HCs! He has 4 Dubai titles, 6 Beijing and 3 Shanghai, all are fast HCs! And, he wasn’t even losing to Fed there but Istomin!

          • It’s irrelevant in a sense that both Rafa and Fed at some point bagan losing their matches in their favorite GSs. Can’t win all the time. And they would come back. All I am saying is that Novak losing at the AO does not mean he is done and dusted. He is strong opposition to any player and will remain to be that way…he may not be at his very best any more which is normal, he is not getting any younger. If we were observing Rafa the same way with all his losses in the GSs last two years we would then have to end up with no expectations…things do not work that way…

            • It’s not irrelevant in the current context! We’re not talking about one two years down the road but just this tournament. Like I said, Djoko won’t suddenly be on fire again; it’s not unlike Rafa in 2015, or Fed in 2013.

              You’re right though that there shouldn’t be any expectation about Rafa winning slam(s) based on last two years results, until what he has shown at the recent AO. Do remember too that after Fed gone through his 2013, most people thought that he was done too at the slams – he had SF at AO, QF at FO, R2 at Wimbledon, R4 at USO in 2013.

    • Natashao (AT 12:42 AM) says: “Did not bother checking on Acapulco, never watched that tourney anyway.”

      Rafa has won the Acapulco tournament twice. You have written that you are a Rafa fan…

  9. Rafa can handle Mischa; he had beaten Misha quite easily recently. The court in Acapulco is not too fast I think and it’s high bouncing (according to Thiem) so it suits Rafa’s game more than Mischa’s.

      • No, didn’t do the pick. I’ve in mind Rafa for the win; it’s doable for him. According to Thiem, the court there is high bouncing so I think it suits Rafa’s game.

        Djoko has Klizan and then likely Delpo next, not easy as Klizan is a big hitter. After that he may have Kygrios followed by either Thiem or Goffin, a tough route.

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