Roger Federer makes surprise Dubai admission ahead of final | Tennis | Sport


The 37-year-old has reached a 10th final in the emirate and is seeking a record-extending eighth success.

Federer faces Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas just over a month after losing to the 20-year-old in the last 16 of the Australian Open in four enthralling sets.

The Swiss legend is hoping to secure the 100th singles title of his ATP Tour career and would become just the second man after Jimmy Connors to reach a century of tournament wins.

And while the 20-time Grand Slam champion has enjoyed a glittering 21-season career on tour, he admits he still felt he had something to prove in Dubai – even as a seven-time champion at the event. 

“It’s been a successful hunting ground for me, here,” he told ATP World Tour. 

“Hasn’t always started easy, the first tournament I played here in Dubai people weren’t happy with my performance. 

“I came back the following year and tried to prove them wrong, that they didn’t see the right Roger – the bad one, the emotional one. 

“I came back and won it then I think four years on the trot. 

“It’s been a good place and I’m really happy that this year again I was able to make the finals after not playing last to prove to myself and the fans that Dubai works out very well for me usually. 

“I’m still in the running so I hope I can play my best in the finals now!”

Federer – who is world No 7 but will jump to No 5 on Monday even if he loses to Tsitsipas – has not won in Dubai since 2015.

But he has won all of his three most recent finals having only ever lost in the showdown match against Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray.

And Tsitsipas is aware that Federer will be doubly keen to win after he got the edge in their Melbourne encounter in January.

“I’m sure he’ll be pumped up,” the two-time tour title-winner said.

“It’s not easy. It’s not easy for both of us. He obviously wants to beat me.

“For him, that loss was a big thing. I’m pretty sure he will come inside the court fired up, wanting to take revenge from me.

“I’m definitely expecting that. But let’s see how the body feels. I’m going to have to recover very well. It’s going to be tough.”

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