Roger Federer reveals Stefanos Tsitsipas danger ahead of Dubai final | Tennis | Sport


The 20-time Grand Slam champion is looking to become the second man in tennis history to win 100 titles at ATP Tour level.

Jimmy Connors is the only other player to do so, having reached 109.

Since winning the Swiss Indoors in Basel last October, Federer has lost in the semi-final of the Paris Masters, the semi-final of the ATP Finals and the round of 16 at the Australian Open.

The 37-year-old’s defeat in Melbourne came at the hands of Tsitsipas as they played out a thrilling 6-7 (11-13), 7-6 (7-3), 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) clash.

That was their first tour-level meeting with 20-year-old rising star Tsitsipas acknowledging post-game that the Swiss legend was his icon growing up.

But having looked so impressive against Borna Coric, Federer will be keen to finally claim his 100th crown as the world No 7 looks to build momentum to take into the clay-court season, having skipped tournaments on the red dirt in all of the last three years.

Federer has, after all, owns a 48-6 record in Dubai and has won here a record seven times previously – albeit not since 2015 having skipped the event twice in the last three years and suffered a shock exit to qualifier Evgeny Donskoy in 2017. 

Yet he acknowledges that Greek star Tsitsipas will offer a major threat as he seeks a second successive tour-level title after winning in Marseille last Sunday, particularly because of his multi-faceted style of play.

Federer said: “It’s not the classic one-dimensional way [of getting it done]. He has many ways to do it. 

“That makes him tough to play, tough to beat. He showed me that at the Australian Open, how hard he is.

“What I like about him is how he’s able to take the ball early time and time again. 

“Serve, takes it early, comes to the net… 

“Then on the backhand side, he has more air, which gives him a bit more margin. 

“Yeah, for a big guy, he moves well… 

“It’s nice to see all the qualities that he has. He has different ways to win points, which makes it hard to play against.”

Tsitsipas has broken into the top 10 for the first time in his career while Federer will move to No 5 regardless of whether he wins the final or not.

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