Roger Federer is running out of time to accept a wild card to play in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships as the deadline to confirm his participation approaches.
The 36-year-old is considering returning to the tournament in the United Arab Emirates, which he has won on seven previous occasions, but has yet to declare his intentions.
Dubai was expected to be Federer's next port of call after he won the Australian Open but accepting an offer to play the Rotterdam Open – where he became the oldest world number one in history – has thrown his participation into major doubt.
Having not been included in the list of direct entrants into the tournament – world number five Grigor Dimitrov is currently the top seed - Federer needs a wild card to compete in the event.
ATP rules state that a tournament must declare its wild card entries by 12pm EST [5pm GMT] on the Friday before the main draw is scheduled to start.
Tournament organisers are yet to confirm any of its four wild cards and remain hopeful Federer will accept their offer to play despite having attributed his recent revival to managing his schedule correctly.
"It's like 50-50. We are still hoping that he will come because you know he loves Dubai and Dubai Duty Free," director Salah 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."
The strongest hint yet that Federer will not compete came earlier this week when he was pictured on vacation at Lenzerheide ski resort in Switzerland.
Should Federer indeed confirm his intention to play he will installed as the number one seed, with his opening match therefore not scheduled to take place until next Wednesday [28 February], giving him plenty of time to travel to Western Asia.
With only 45 ranking points to defend from last year's second round exit, Federer has every incentive to play the event knowing he can extend his advantage over Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard is meanwhile playing the Mexican Open in Acapulco where he requires victory to eat into Federer's advantage which currently stands at 345 points.