Dubai Open director Salah Tahlak is confident that Roger Federer would have participated in the tournament had he not won in Rotterdam to reclaim his number one title from Rafael Nadal. The Swiss ace has been a regular at Dubai, winning the title seven times in his career but decided to opt out of this year's event as he wanted to spend more time with his family.
Federer recently became the oldest player in the game to claim the number one title when he reached the semi-finals of the Rotterdam Open, which he eventually won by defeating Grigor Dimitrov 6-2 6-2 in the finals. The achievement came days after he won the Australian Open in Melbourne — his 20th Grand Slam title in his journey to the top.
Federer has now won three of the last five majors and victory in Melbourne was the sixth Australian Open victory of what has been an illustrious career. He becomes only the fourth player after Margaret Court, Serena Williams and Steffi Graf to win 20 or more major singles titles.
Having already spent a lot of time away from his dear ones, the Swiss ace has decided to take a step back from the courts and instead concentrate on defending his titles during the American hard court season, at Indian Wells and Miami.
Tahlak has no hard feelings for Federer and insisted that what's good for him is good for them.
"I understand and I believe whatever's good for him is good for us," Tahlak said, as quoted by the National. "You can't really push him more. Had he not won in Rotterdam he would have definitely come here. I really respect Roger as a person, as a professional and as an athlete.
"He's so classy. He's a legend. He has done well for the game, done well for Dubai. Getting to world No 1 after five years and 106 days, it's an amazing result. So it's good for him that he's back to No 1.
"It would have been a good year to come and then maybe add another 500 points. It would have been easier for him. It's always difficult when Nadal and Djokovic, Andy Murray and Stan... none of them were here.
"In the end he decided with his coach, his physics. They know him best. As Tony said, he has to look at it health-wise, because in August he's going to be 37 years old. For me, I can't say anything, but that I wish him all the best."