Federer and Djokovic confirmed for Dubai Tennis Championship

Five-time winner Roger Federer will return to the UAE next month to defend his crown after being confirmed as one of the competitors at this year's Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship.

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, on the men's side, and Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka on the women's, headline the fields for the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship next month at the Aviation Club in Garhoud.

Federer is a five-time winner of the event, a favourite of UAE fans and the defending champion as well as being the world No 2. He will expect a challenge from Djokovic, the No 1, and the winner of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi last month.

Nine of the current top-10-ranked women's players have committed to Dubai, led by Azarenka, the world No 1, and the No 3 Williams, whose exploits in the past six months include winning titles at Wimbledon, the US Open and the London Olympics.

Other women expected to play in the February 18 to 23 event are world No 4 and defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska, No 5 Angelique Kerber, as well as Li Na, Sara Errani, Petra Kvitova, Samantha Stosur and Carolina Wozniacki, the Nos 6-10 players. Among them, the nine players won 27 WTA championships in 2012.

The women's event offers US$2 million (Dh7.34m) in prize money, as does the men's, which runs the week after the women's, from February 25 to March 3.

The men's draw will be finalised this week, but organisers expect six of the top 10 players - Tomas Berdych, Juan Martin del Potro, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Janko Tipsarevic - to join Djokovic and Federer.

Colm McLoughlin, the executive vice chairman of Dubai Duty Free, expressed satisfaction with the quality of the field, saying: "With the men's and women's world No 1 players here, along with the current holders of five grand slam crowns and both defending champions from last year, Dubai tennis fans are set for a sporting treat second to none."

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