Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai

17TH February - 2nd March 2019
Dubai Duty Free tennis stadium
17TH February - 2nd March 2019
Dubai Duty Free tennis stadium
February 24, 2019

Read & Watch: On Top of the World with Roger Federer

Seven-time Dubai champion Roger Federer meets with Dubai tournament director Salah Tahlak at The Lounge in the Burj Khalifa.
Photo of Salah Tahlak, tournament director, and Roger Federer

Tournament Director, Salah Talak, and seven-time Dubai champion Roger Federer met at The Lounge in the Burj Khalifa – the tallest lounge in the world, with panoramic views of Dubai.

Roger Federer is getting ready to bid for his eighth Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title this week. He told Tournament Director, Salah Tahlak that eight is his lucky number when they met at The Lounge in the Burj Khalifa – the tallest lounge in the world – complete with panoramic views of Dubai.

Salah and Roger spent time reminiscing as they looked through photographs of Roger’s iconic moments with the tournament including his first win in 2003 – which he described as a milestone win, as well as the legendary tennis match on the Burj Al Arab helipad with Andre Agassi. To this day, people still ask the hotel if they can play tennis in the helipad! (They cannot.)

Salah spent time talking to Roger about Dubai’s history and the changes over the years as they looked down on the busy roads and buildings beneath them from The Lounge on the 154th floor. They also reminisced about some milestone moments for Federer at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Photo of Salah Tahlak and Roger Federer
Dubai tournament director Salah Tahlak and seven-time Dubai champion Roger Federer at The Lounge in the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.

On his first victory in Dubai, in 2003: “It was a big victory for me… It was a ‘status’ tournament — all the best players were here. (The win) gave me the belief I neededed – it was one of those milestone wins you have throughout your career – that if you can win this, you can win other similar-sized tournaments and take that next step.”

On playing on the Burj Al Arab helipad, with Andre Agassi: “This one must be my most special and most iconic picture I was ever able to take – on the helipad of the Burj Al Arab. It was something very special. It was Andre Agassi’s first visit to Dubai.”

On playing against Andy Murray on the beach: “Andy Murray beat me here in Dubai (in 2008) and also on the sand that day.” Federer lost that beach tennis match against Murray as Tahlak, who served as that day’s chair umpire, looked on. “You could have helped me (to a victory),” Federer said jokingly to Tahlak. “But you didn’t. You were very neutral.”

Photo of Dubai 2015 Men's Trophy Ceremony
Roger Federer wins his seventh Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships trophy in 2015 (d. Djokovic).

On the significance of winning an eighth Dubai title: “It would be very special to win [my 100th title] anywhere, but special also here in Dubai where I have enjoyed so much success. It would be my eighth title here. Eight is my favorite number, because I was born on 8 August 1981, so eight has always had a significant meaning for me.”

Federer plays his first-round match against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber on Monday 25 Feb (not before 7pm start time). For further information about the tournament, include ticket availability for other sessions, please visit www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com.

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