Roger Federer ready to hit historic 100th title in Dubai

Can the Fed-Express storm to a century of titles this week? (AFP)
Updated 25 February 2019

Roger Federer ready to hit historic 100th title in Dubai

  • Swiss sensation looking for 100th career title at the Aviation Club.
  • Fed to face Philipp Kohlschreiber in first round on Monday.

LONDON: Roger Federer is confident his experience of playing in Dubai will see him win an eighth Duty Free Championship title and his 100th ATP success, despite slower conditions in Dubai than in past tournaments.
Seeded second and on the other side of the draw of top-seed Kei Nishikori, the Swiss ace is hopeful he can overcome Philipp Kohlschreiber in his first-round match on Monday and push on from there.
“It gives me confidence that I know I can play well here in Dubai, on this court and in these conditions, even though the conditions are playing much slower than in the previous years here. It is a big shift in the tournament,” he said.
“In the past, Dubai always used to be a tournament where you played, you got out of it at the end, you weren’t sure you were playing that good because things are so fast.
“Points get decided on one or two shots here or there. It’s reaction,” he added.
“I think you can really grind a player down now. It’s been actually quite a big change and I’m excited to be here.
“I do believe this surface also lends itself for me to play well here. I hope I can show it (this week).
“I’m feeling good now. Fitness has been going well, tennis has been going well. I’ve been here a few days, I feel really well prepared, I’m excited that the ATP Tour is moving on and I’m here.
“I’m happy to be back,” he said.
Could he win a historic century in Dubai?
“We’ve been talking about 99 titles ever since Basel, every tournament I’ve played. It’s nothing new. Of course, coming to Dubai where I’ve enjoyed a lot of success, sort of makes you believe maybe it could happen here.
“Look, I hope we can have this conversation in a few days’ time and see what happens,” he said.
On his first-round opponent, Federer was taking nothing for granted.
“I just practiced with Kohlschreiber a couple days ago. We played two sets basically, and we really both know what we’re getting into. He looks good, so it’s going to be tough,” he said.
Nishikori, who is playing in Dubai for the first time in his career, is looking forward to a new tournament and a new challenge.
“It was always comfortable to play in Acapulco this week and I used to play in Memphis all the time, it was easier for me to play in the US,” he said.
“But I chose to play last week in Europe, and now in Dubai.
I always wanted to come here. The schedule wasn’t easy, but I chose to come here; it’s something new and fun. I wanted to play two 500s, so
I chose to play here.”
The Japanese star was quick to play down any idea of a “favorite” tag. He also believes the standard of the men’s game means no match on the tour is easy, and his first-round match-up with Benoit Paire will be far from a foregone conclusion.
“He can always be dangerous. Great backhand, I love his backhand. It’s one of the best backhands, (even) two-handed. I’m sure it’s going to be tough one,” he said.
“Especially this year and last year, it’s been getting tougher and tougher (on tour).
“Anyone can beat anybody now, even top 50 or top 100 guys can really play — there are no easy matches,” he said.
That is a sentiment Federer shares. “I think the depth in the men’s game is really strong,” he said.
“I think I have to respect first-round opponents forever, basically. Just because you’re ranked world No. 1, it does not give you a free pass into the second round.
“Maybe it was like that back in the 1950s, I have no idea, but nowadays it’s definitely not like that.”

LIVE: Saudi Cup - historic day of racing gets underway in Riyadh

Updated 1 min 15 sec ago

LIVE: Saudi Cup - historic day of racing gets underway in Riyadh

  • Follow all the day's action with Arab News
  • Meeting ends with world's richest race, the $20 million Saudi Cup

RIYADH: The day is finally here, the long-awaited Saudi Cup day of top-class racing gets underway at the King Abdul Aziz Racetrack on Saturday in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh.

The day consists of eight races with a total purse of $29.2 million.

Prize money for the main event and final race of the day, the Saudi Cup, will be a record-breaking $20 million, with the winner taking home $10 million and the rest of the field sharing the rest.

Follow Arab News' coverage below...(all times GMT)


13:45 - RESULT - It's another shock victory as Dark Power wins The stc 1351 Cup - the second Bahrain-owned winner of the day! And Riyadh has even been treated to the trademark Frankie Dettori victory jump...

13:20 - More of the fashion on show at the King Abdul Aziz Racetrack today...

13:05 - RESULT - Port Lions wins the Mohamed Yousuf Naghi Motors Cup, the first ever turf race run in Saudi Arabia, ridden by A De Vries in the first race of the day - bit of a shock there, as Deirdre was the heavily-fancied horse before the off! (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)



12:30 - We're 30 minutes away from the off in the first race of the day - here's a look at the Grandstand and the hospitality enclosure at Riyadh's King Abdul Aziz Racetrack. And some of the high fashion stakes on show as well...

11:50 - Fans treated to one of the many displays of Saudi culture that will be on show throughout the day...

11:30 - More happy Arab News readers with their copies of the special Saudi Cup souvenir edition of the newspaper...(AN Photos/Huda Bashatah)

11:10 - A fantastic video from the Saudi Cup official Twitter page shows jockey Yutake Take on board his mount in one of the Jockeys Challenge races on Friday!

10:45 - Here's your race card for today's racing (including the breaks for prayer) - the action starts at 4:00pm KSA time (1:00pm GMT) and the big one is scheduled to start at 8:40pm local time (5:40pm GMT)...

10:30 - As we wait for the fans to file in ahead of the first race of the day at 4:00pm Saudi time, check out a gallery by Arab News' Basheer Alzain Saleh and Huda Bashatah of yesterday's Kingdom Day...

GALLERY: Kingdom Day meeting, Saudi Cup in Riyadh

09:50 - Yesterday saw a host of male and female jockeys get a feel for the tracks at King Abdul Aziz Racetrack in the Jockeys Challenge races (read a report here) - but it was also a chance for the fans to get a feel for all the activities available away from the racing for the whole family at the track...(AN Photos/Huda Bashatah)

09:30 - We've got the latest turf track update - and the official Saudi Cup feed are saying today's going is Good to Firm on that immaculate-looking stretch of grass. It's an exciting day for Saudi racing fans as some fantastic horses will be running on the turf and dirt tracks today...

09:15 - Don't forget, you can read Arab News' coverage of the formation of the event and the build-up to today's historic race - as well as an account of yesterday's action on Kingdom Day - in our dedicated spotlight here...

09:00 - The gates have opened and we're officially kicking off the day's coverage!