Rafael Nadal will make a stunning return to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (DDFTC) next month, 15 years after his last competitive appearance in the United Arab Emirates.
Rafa, the DDFTC men’s champion in 2006, last appeared at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium in 2008. Since then, he has established himself as one of the greatest male players in tennis history, winning a record 22 Grand Slam titles. Currently ranked No.2 in the world, Rafa will return for the annual ATP 500 event, which runs from the 27th of February to the 4th of March.
Having reached the quarterfinals in Dubai in 2005, Rafa returned in 2006 to beat, among others, Briton Tim Henman and Germany’s Rainer Schuttler on route to the final. Against World No.1 and top seed Roger Federer, Rafa triumphed 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 to mark his first victory over the Swiss in an ATP final. When Federer retired last year, ending one of the greatest tennis rivalries of all-time, Rafa’s record against Federer stood at 13-10 in ATP finals.