Salah Tahlak, Tournament director of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, is still hopeful of having Roger Federer participate in the tour when the men's event begins on 26 February. The 36-year-old has made history by becoming the oldest world number one, eclipsing the record set by Andre Agassi way back in 2003.
Federer achieved the momentous milestone by reaching the semi-finals of the Rotterdam Open, which he went on to win, defeating Grigor Dimitrov 6-2 6-2 in the finals.
The Swiss ace made a last-minute decision to enter the Rotterdam event as he aimed to dethrone old rival Rafael Nadal from the top spot in the ATP rankings.
Federer beat Nadal to the number one rank, with the players only separated by a mere 155 points before Rotterdam. The Spaniard had managed to hold on to his spot at the top after reaching the quarter-finals of the Australian Open, which was eventually won by Federer.
The win marked the Swiss ace's 20th Grand Slam title, only the fourth player after Margaret Court, Serena Williams and Steffi Graf to win 20 or more major singles titles. However, having achieved what he wanted to, Tahlak is not sure if Federer will now consider coming to Dubai only a week after his triumph at Rotterdam.
"It's like 50-50. We are still hoping that he will come because you know he loves Dubai and Dubai Duty Free," Tahlak told Khaleej Times.
"His first career title came in Milan and that tournament was owned by Dubai Duty Free. So it's always on his mind. And he has been good to Dubai and Dubai has been good to him. But sometimes we can't push beyond the borders. He is a human being and he has his priorities."
This year the men's event at the Dubai Open has not been as attractive to top stars like in previous years. The director believes that injuries have played a major part in the top players becoming more cautious with their schedule.
"The problem is that we have got lot of injuries in men's tennis," he said. "And one of the reasons for these injuries is that at the end of the season they (the top players) play exhibition matches.
"Of course, it's another revenue for them, but physically they get tired after a long season. Andy Murray has been struggling with injury issues and Novak Djokovic was 50-50!"