The who’s who of who to see at the Dubai Tennis Championships
The world’s best tennis players are here in Dubai. The Dubai Tennis Championship is under way at the Dubai Tennis Stadium in Garhoud.
So who will win the country’s biggest tennis tournament? Here are the players not to miss. Let’s start with last year’s men’s winner (actually, winner of the last three) ...
Novak Djokovic Age: 24 World ranking: 1 Nationality: Serbian Profile: The Serb finished 2011 as the World No.1 and opened the 2012 season by winning his third straight Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, beating Nadal in a championship match that last almost six hours.
Victoria Azarenka Age: 22 World ranking: 1 Nationality: Belarusian Profile: Earlier this year, Azarenka became the first Belarusian player to win a singles Grand Slam, and won her third title of 2012 in Doha, following her defeat of Mona Barthel, Simon Halep, Yanina Wickmayer, Agnieszka Radwanska and Samantha Stosur. She has received criticism for the grunting noises she makes when she hits the ball – which have been noted both for their volume and time-span.
Update: Azarenka has withdrawn from the tournament due to an ankle injury.
Roger Federer Age: 30 World ranking: 3 Nationality: Swiss Profile: Federer has remained in the top three for nine consecutive years, getting to at least the quarter finals or better in a record 30 consecutive Slams since Wimbledon 2004. His 2012 season started in Doha where he was forced to pull out ahead of his semi-final tournament against World No.6 Tsonga due to injury.
Caroline Wozniacki Age: 21 World ranking: 4 Nationality: Danish Profile: Beau of fellow sports star Rory McIlroy, who also visited Dubai recently, Wozniacki was last year reported to be the second highest-earning female sports star in the world. She is yet to win a women’s Grand Slam title, but made it to the quarter finals in the Australian Open where she lost to former World No.1 Kim Clijsters.
Andy Murray Age: 24 World ranking: 4 Nationality: British Profile: Murray’s career high came in 2008 when he won five ATP titles and reached his first Grand Slam final. Last year, he finished at No.4 for a fourth season, but has so far this year lost to No.1 Djokovic in five sets during the recent Australian Open.
Samantha Stosur Age: 27 World ranking: 5 Nationality: Australian Profile: A former No.1 on the WTA Tour in doubles with American player Lisa Raymond, Stosur won the 2011 US Open singles title and made the finals of the 2010 French Open. She lost in Doha earlier this year to World No.1 Victoria Azarenka.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Age: 26 World ranking: 6 Nationality: French Profile: Top-ranking French player Tsonga finished 2011 in the world top 10 for the third time in four years. He rose to fame by reaching the 2008 Australian Open final as an unseeded player, beating four seeds along the way.
Agnieszka Radwanska Age: 22 World ranking: 6 Nationality: Polish Profile: Radwanska reached her career-high ranking of World No.6 in January of this year when she advanced to the quarter finals at the Australian Open, losing out to rival Azarenka, who she has met on the court at least once a year ever since their first face-off in 2006.
Tomáš Berdych Age: 26 World ranking: 7 Nationality: Czech Profile: Berdych reached a career high of World No.6 in October 2010, but has since slipped down one place. At the 2011 ATP World Tour Finals he eventually lost out to Tsonga in the semi-finals, and though he reached the semi-finals at this year’s Australian Open, he was booed while leaving the court after refusing to shake Nicolás Almagro’s hand following a match (which he won) where he believed Almahro had deliberately aimed a shot at him.
Marion Bartoli Age: 27 World ranking: 7 Nationality: French Profile: French No.1 Bartoli has so far won seven WTA singles and three doubles titles in her career. Known for her unusual style of play, using two hands on both her forehand and backhand, the 27-year-old achieved a career-high ranking of No.7 in January 2012 following good performances in both the Australian Open and Open GDF Suez in Paris.