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Sports Then and Now

Roger Federer Resumes Play on the Courts of Dubai… 11

Posted on February 20, 2011 by JA Allen

Roger Federer practices in Dubai with American Andre Agassi.

When former World No. 1 Roger Federer adopted a seasonal home, relishing the intense heat of the Arab desert–he hoisted his Swiss flag over Dubai’s annual tennis event, causing the tournament’s popularity to soar.

Federer lives and trains rigorously in magnificent surroundings in the United Arab Emirates city where an explosion of ultra modern facilities has created a mecca for top sports personalities.

It is where the Swiss spends his off season––the time between the year-end ATP World Tour Finals and the Australian Open prior to the Dubai Tennis Championships. Federer often frequents his Dubai residence throughout the year, carving out practice time from his crowded calendar.  No one takes training more seriously than Federer who understands that being fit is crucial to success on court.

The tennis tournament, in existence since 1993, was first known as the Dubai Men’s Open. This year will mark its nineteenth season held in the opulent city renowned for its hot desert sun.


In 2002 when Federer first played the tournament in Dubai, he found himself seeded No. 6. The Swiss was promptly eliminated in the second round by German Rainer Schuettler 6-3, 6-1.  This was hardly an auspicious beginning for Federer. But then, the former World No. 1 was just beginning to find his professional form in 2002.

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Overcoming Rain and Sub-Par Play, Novak Djokovic Wins in Dubai 1

Posted on February 28, 2010 by JA Allen
Novak Djokovic wins in Dubai and receives trophy from Sheik Monsoor bin Mohammed.

Novak Djokovic wins in Dubai and receives trophy from Sheik Monsoor bin Mohammed.

Novak Djokovic headed into Dubai this past week as the defending champion, carrying with him a bad case of nerves. He had good reason to be on edge because he was defending 500 points, having won the Dubai Tennis Championships in 2009.

Dubai remains a high water-mark on the tennis landscape and one of the favorites of players who use it as a warm-up for the U.S. Hard Court swing through Indian Wells and Miami, two ATP Masters Series events, each worth 1,000 points for the champion.

As the No. 2 player in the world, Djokovic feels the hot breath of Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray on his neck as the two tennis giants begin their earnest campaigns to overtake the Serb’s No. 2 spot as soon as possible.

Nadal sits only 940 points back while Murray remains 1,010 points behind Djokovic in the current rankings race. Pressures like those leave even the strongest and most determined a little rattled.

The Serb found himself facing a potentially lethal field that early on was only missing Rafael Nadal.  Seeded players included Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Juan Martin del Potro, Nikolay Davydenko, and Andy Roddick as well as many other top 20 players.  In other words, the field was packed.

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Al Bumbry: From Bronze Star to AL Rookie of the Year
      May 31, 2021 | 2:21 pm

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month won a Bronze Star in Vietnam before going on to win American League Rookie of the Year honors and playing 14 seasons in the Major Leagues.

      Though only 5-foot-8 and 170 pounds, Al Bumbry was a four-year basketball player at Virginia State College (now University). The school restarted its baseball program during his career and Bumbry hit .578 during his senior season to earn notice from the Baltimore Orioles, who picked him in the 11th round of the MLB Draft.

      Read more »

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