Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
January 22, 2020 – DUBAI, UAE: The red carpet is certain to be laid out when world number one Ashleigh Barty makes her welcome debut at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships next month.
The reigning French Open and WTA Finals champion enjoyed a stunning 2019 season. In winning her first Grand Slam at Roland Garros she was the first Australian woman to win a Slam since Sam Stosur’s US Open triumph in 2011. She was also the first Australian to win the WTA Finals since 1976 and did so in her debut year in singles at the event, and she became the first Australian woman in 43 years to reach number one and the first Australian woman ever to finish the year at the top of the rankings.
Her achievements are all the more remarkable as she once walked away from the pressures that being a tennis prodigy had piled upon her to play cricket instead. She has said that break in 2015-16 helped her re-focus and live life as a normal teenager, away from the attention she had received by becoming a doubles finalist at the Australian and US Opens and Wimbledon.
When she returned to the game, she swiftly became a force on the singles court and last season she amassed 57 match wins. She went on a 15-match winning streak in the middle of the year, which began with her Roland Garros triumph and carried on through to her claiming the Birmingham title before her run was brought to an end by Alison Riske in the fourth round of Wimbledon. Winning Miami as well as the French Open, Birmingham and the WTA Finals, she also reached the final of Sydney and the China Open in Beijing.
She lost her opening match in a tournament just once to Sofia Kenin in Toronto. And when she won just one round in Rome it gave her the opportunity to demonstrate that her prowess on the doubles court was still undiminished as she partnered with Victoria Azarenka to win the title.
“We are thrilled that Ashleigh Barty will be competing at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships for the first time,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free. “It has been wonderful to witness her infectious enthusiasm that has won her countless fans around the world, and the manner in which she has conducted herself as a champion has rightly been recognised by all, but especially at home in Australia.”
At the end of last season, she made history there by becoming the first female tennis player to receive the Don, Australia’s top sportsperson award. Pat Rafter is the only other tennis player to have received the honour, back in 2001. She also became just the second person along with Samantha Stosur to earn the Newcombe Medal in three successive years.
“Already this season we have seen Ashleigh Barty claim a title, as she became the first Australian woman to win a tournament on home soil in nine years with victory in the Adelaide International final,” said Tournament Director Salah Tahlak. “Her success underlines that she will be extremely difficult to overcome at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, even though she faces a fantastic field that features two other reigning Grand Slam winners together with many other tournament champions.”
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free and held under the patronage of H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, begins with the WTA event which runs from 17th to 22nd February and features reigning Grand Slam champions Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep and Bianca Andreescu, as well as former two-time Dubai winner Elina Svitolina, 2019 champion Belinda Bencic and recent Brisbane winner Karolina Pliskova. The tournament then continues between 24th and 29th February with the ATP tournament which stars reigning Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic, eight-time Dubai champion Roger Federer, 2019 ATP Finals winner Stefanos Tsitsipas and 2018 Dubai champion Roberto Bautista Agut.
Tickets for the 17th – 29th February tournament are available at www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com.
Fans are reminded that tickets may not be resold or transferred by anyone other than the organisers. Tickets from resellers will not be accepted on entry, so organisers are urging fans to purchase from ticket partner, Platinumlist or at the Box Office which will open on 29th January at 9am.