Following Roger Federer's success at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, we take a look back at the best quotes from the week.
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“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
The 23rd Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships wrapped up on Saturday with Roger Federer once again reminding everyone of his timeless talent.
The six-day ATP 500 event featured four of the world’s top-10 and seven of the world’s top-20.
The tournament got its first world No1 versus world No2 final since 2006, when Rafael Nadal (ranked No2 at the time) beat the top-ranked Federer.
Here’s a look at the highlights of the week that passed in Dubai…
The Swiss has taken his win-loss record in Dubai to an impressive 47-5 and captured his seventh title in the emirates by defeating world No1 Novak Djokovic for a 20th time in 37 meetings. After taking a month off following his third round shock defeat to Andreas Seppi in the Australian Open, Federer showed no rustiness as he blasted through the draw without dropping a set. Fair to predict that the centre court at the Aviation Club will one day be called the Roger Federer Stadium.
The 18-year-old Croat became the youngest ever semi-finalist at the Dubai tournament when he stunned Andy Murray 6-1, 6-3 in the quarters last week. It was Coric’s second top-three victory in less than six months, having beaten Nadal in Basel last October.
Murray hit an unusual 50+ errors in the match but hats off to Coric who held his nerve and came up with some sensational shots to close out the contest. The fact that he was a lucky loser made his story all the more remarkable.
Berdych amasses 500 career wins
— ATP World Tour (@ATPWorldTour) February 25, 2015
Tomas Berdych registered his 500th career victory when he beat Simone Bolelli in the second round last week. He is just the eighth active player to have 500 or more wins. Best thing about Berdych’s reaction to hitting that milestone? He said he’s already eyeing 500 more. Great attitude.
Federer crosses 9,000 aces mark
It was quite surprising when Federer revealed he was actually keeping count of the number of aces he was hitting during his final against Djokovic to see if could reach 9,000. Joining Goran Ivanisevic, Ivo Karlovic and Andy Roddick as the only players to strike 9,000 or more aces (since the ATP started keeping count in 1991) clearly meant something to him.
Perhaps it gave him some extra motivation as he hit all those aces and service winners to save all seven break points he faced against the world No1.
Marsel Ilhan reaches first ATP quarter-final
This is one that may have gone under the radar but Ilhan made history for his country last week in Dubai. The qualifier became the first player from Turkey to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP 500 event and the first to beat a top-15 player when he took out sixth-seeded Feliciano Lopez in round two. It was also his maiden ATP quarter-final appearance, which will take him to a career-high No77 in today’s new rankings.
It was exciting to see Gulbis back in Dubai for just the second time, and the first since 2011, but the excitement did not last as the Latvian No5 seed lost in his opening match to Denis Istomin (ranked 51 spots below him) to take his shocking losing streak to seven in a row. He is winless in 2015 (0-5) and admits he isn’t feeling the ball on the practice court and in matches. A real shame for someone with so much talent.
Roger Federer won the Dubai Championship for the third time in four years and seventh time overall following a straight sets win over world number one Novak Djokovic.