Arguably the best tennis player of his generation, Roger Federer has seen 59 singles wins this year and a nail-biting Wimbledon showdown against Novak Djokovic. From Monday December 14 to Wednesday 16, he’ll be playing for and in Dubai as part of the UAE Royals team at the International Premier Tennis League.
Now in its second year, this faster format of the game combines elements of football and basketball, allowing substitutions, shootouts and 60-second timeouts. Team members sit courtside to cheer on their teammates and the crowd gets a great view of the stars. The league is made up of five international teams of pros, and played across four Asian countries. The first leg of the tournament starts in Japan, and the UAE hosts the penultimate stage. All teams have seven players. Indian Aces have drafted in Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova is on the Japan Warriors team, Serena
Williams is playing for the Philippine Mavericks and Federer’s fierce rival, Djokovic, is with the Singapore Slammers.
Speaking ahead of the tournament, Federer said,“I am extremely pleased to play for the UAE Royals in Dubai, New Delhi and Singapore. The atmosphere in these cities is warm and electrifying, adding another level of motivation for me when I compete against the world’s best at these venues.”
Co-owner of the UAE Royals, Neelesh Bhatnagar, says that Federer could secure a first place win for the team this year. “Roger is one of the world’s most talented athletes. We are exceptionally pleased to have him play for us. It will surely improve our chances.”
From Dhs750 (three day ticket). December 14-16, 3pm-9pm. Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, Garhoud, www.iptlworld.com.