Big names to compete for glory in Dubai once again

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Serena Williams will lead an all-star field in Dubai.

The stars of the WTA tour will head to Dubai next month for the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, one of the most eagerly anticipated events on the UAE sporting calendar, and one of the most prestigious tournaments on the international tennis circuit.

Women’s world number one and arguably one of the greatest players of all time, Serena Williams heads the WTA line-up, which features five of the top ten women’s players and eight of the top 20 players in the world.

Along with Williams, the line-up includes world number three Garbine Muguruza and world number four and 2012 Dubai champion Agnieszka Radwanska.

Lucie Safarova, Angelique Kerber and former world number ones Ana Ivanovic and Caroline Wozniacki are also heading to the UAE.

The 2015 Dubai Duty Free WTA tournament was recently named as the ‘Premier 5 Tournament of the Year’ at the annual WTA Year-End Awards in December.

Winning the award, which is voted on by the players, is testament to the growth of the tournament which is now one of the most popular on the WTA tour and regularly attracts the best players in the world.

The Championships will take place from February 15-27 and will again attract thousands of local and international fans for two weeks of spectacular tennis action.

The ATP men’s entry list will be finalised in the coming days, but organisers are expecting seven-time winner and reigning champion Roger Federer to be back to defend his title, as well as world number one and four-time Dubai champion Novak Djokovic.

Commenting on this year’s event, Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free, the tournament owners and organisers, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming the world’s best players back to Dubai. This year is shaping up to be another hotly contested tournament and we are looking forward to another great fortnight of superb tennis action.”

With the tournament kicking off in just five weeks, organisers are making sure that all is in place for a record-breaking event which will see non-stop action and excitement both on and off the court for the entire fortnight.

Tournament Director, Salah Tahlak commented: “This tournament is eagerly awaited by players and fans alike and the line-up this year is fantastic. We look forward to welcoming spectators for this year’s event and enjoying another thrilling tournament.”

Staged at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium in Garhoud, the action will commence on February 15 with the WTA event, followed on 22 February with the ATP tournament offering a total prize money of US$4.5 million.

Tickets for the event will go on sale on January 18 from the Box Office at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, which is open from 9am to 9pm daily and online at http://www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com/en/tickets.

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From Novak to Sousa: quotes from ATP Dubai

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Joao Sousa (L), Novak Djokovic (M) and James McGee (R) all hit the headlines this week for their various opinions.

Following Roger Federer's success at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, we take a look back at the best quotes from the week.

– #Quiz360: WIN Dh250 voucher to spend at Legends Sports Bar

– Highlights of Roger Federer's victory over Novak Djokovic in Dubai

– Winners and Losers from Dubai DFTC: Federer made it a week to remember

“He contributed to my sex… He contributed to my success mostly. Oh my God. I guess my PR's hands are sweating now.” – Novak Djokovic gets carried away when asked how Boris Becker has helped him.

Novak Djokovic and coach Boris Becker talk during a practice session prior to this year's Australian Open.

“I've been thrown in the deep end this week, and you just gotta learn how to swim.” – World No210 James McGee on getting a wildcard and competing against the ATP’s very best in Dubai.

“I'm always happy to play for my country. I don't play for people (in the federation). I play for my country.” – Malek Jaziri when asked why he sticks to representing Tunisia instead of France despite pressure he gets from the Tunisian Tennis Federation to avoid playing specific players.

“I do feel a lot of pressure when I'm playing with my brother in tour events just because if we lose in the first round he doesn't make any money or a living that week.” – Andy Murray on the pressure of playing ATP events with his brother Jamie.

Andy Murray and his brother Jamie look on during the Mutua Madrid Open last year.

“It's been a big burden for me throughout my career and one of the things that have caused more difficulties in my life than many other things.” – Roger Federer on Davis Cup.

“You can have news that (Cristiano) Ronaldo went to the toilet three times a day, and that's the news.  I make semi-finals and nothing.” – Joao Sousa on how tennis takes a backseat to football in Portugal.

Joao Sousa spoke of how tennis takes a back seat to football in Portugal.

“When you actually feel the ball and feel the pressure which he's making, it's actually been tougher than when you're watching it on the sofa in front of TV.” – Borna Coric states the obvious as he describes what it’s like playing Roger Federer.

“I’m going to shoot, one good result and I’m coming back. This is a distraction, it’s the calm before the storm.” – Ernests Gulbis on his seven-match losing streak.

“I hope he's not going to be the next Novak (Djokovic). Don't do that to him.” – Federer gets protective over Borna Coric. 

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