The countdown to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships has ramped up after organisers confirmed an impressive men’s field that will feature a host of emerging and established names, including four Grand Slam winners.
World No 2 Rafael Nadal, injury permitting, and World No 5 Novak Djokovic remain on course to head an impressive ATP line-up boasting four of the world’s top 10 male players, from February 25 to March 4.
Reigning champion Andrey Rublev (World No 6) will return to defend his title and is joined by 2021 US Open winner Daniil Medvedev (World No 8).
The extended field features nine of the world’s top 20, including Olympic Gold medallist Alexander Zverev, Hubert Hurkacz (11), 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic, World No 15 Pablo Carreno Busta, and World No 20 Karen Kachanov, a Dubai resident and quarterfinalist at the Dubai tournament in 2020.
“With seven of the top 20 men, including Novak, as well as last year’s winner Andrey Rublev and a host of others, spectators in Dubai are in for another fantastic, unmissable tournament next month,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free.
The return of Nadal, 15 years after his last appearance at the event, was confirmed earlier this month.
However, the 22-time Grand Slam winner suffered a grade two tear in his left pelvis area during the ongoing Australian Open and tournament organisers are in touch with his team.
This week, organisers have also confirmed a women’s field that will feature the world’s top 10 and 18 of the top 20 female players from February 19-25.
“Having such impressive fields for both the WTA and ATP tournaments means spectators will witness world-class action on court once again next month. As ever, we will also have a multitude of fun activities in the Tennis Village providing fans of all ages with live entertainment, a host of competitions, and big screens broadcasting the action,” said Tournament Director, Salah Tahlak.
Tickets for Championships, which runs from February 19 – March 4, are on sale online, starting from AED 55.
They will also be available every day at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium Box Office from February 9 between 9:00 am and 9:00 pm.
Tournament organisers have urged fans to secure their seats through the official platforms.
Tickets for the men’s event closed online within two hours of going on sale on January 17, however a limited number of tickets will be released this Tuesday, January 24, at 9:00 am.
A second batch will be made available at the stadium Box Office from 9:00 am on February 9.
Tickets, from both outlets, will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
Next month’s Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships will start with the 23rd staging of the WTA event from February 19 to 25, before the 31st staging of the ATP Tour 500 tournament from February 26 to March 4.
Diego Simeone contemplates Atletico future as derby defeat ends trophy dreams – ARN News Centre
Atletico Madrid’s dreams of a trophy this season came to an end with a Copa del Rey quarterfinal 3-1 defeat against bitter rivals Real Madrid on Thursday, with coach Diego Simeone blaming the referee’s decision to send off defender Stefan Savic for the loss.
The match, which was held at the Santiago Bernabeu, saw heightened emotions with Atletico fans issuing threats targeting Real’s Vinicious Junior before the game.
In the 19th minute of the match, Alvaro Morata scored to put Atletico ahead 1-0, but Real Madrid was able to take the game into extra time after Rodrygo Goes equalized late in the second half.
Atletico Madrid defender Stefan Savic was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Eduardo Camavinga, leaving Atletico with 10 men.
It proved too much for Simeone’s side as Real scored twice in extra time, with goals from Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior, securing their spot in the semifinals.
After the match, Simeone questioned Savic’s sending off, saying, “For me, we played a very good game until the 70th minute, when [Dani] Ceballos didn’t get a second yellow card [for a foul on Thomas Lemar].”
He went on to say, “We’d have been a man up and 1-0 up, but it didn’t happen. Later Savic was sent off and we were a man down. It got more difficult with 10 men, but the team was brave enough to look for the draw, I’m happy with the effort of the players.”
Simeone was also unhappy with what he said was a lack of protection from referee Cesar Soto Grado for forward Morata. “I asked him ‘Do you have something against Alvaro? If so, I won’t pick him in the next game you referee!'” Simeone said. “[Soto Grado] said Alvaro sometimes goes down easily. But he went off with a knock. They’re decisions. Ceballos could have got a yellow and didn’t, and Savic did.”
The Copa del Rey was likely to be Atletico’s last opportunity to win a trophy this season after the team finished bottom of their Champions League group, and are currently fourth in LaLiga, 13 points behind leaders Barcelona.
Diego Simeone, who has been in charge of Atletico since 2011, hinted it might be time for him to move on, saying he will reflect on his own future at the end of the season.
“We’re out of the Champions League, and we’re out of the Copa del Rey,” Simeone said.
“We’ve got the second half of the season to reach the objective which the club needs [to finish in the top four] and then we’ll look at everything.” He added, “I’m happy to be at Atletico Madrid. From the day I arrived until the day I leave I’ll give everything for the team and the club.”
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti hailed goalscorer Vinicius for remaining “focused” despite being targeted in a racist incident ahead of the game, when a dummy wearing his shirt was hung from a bridge near the club’s training ground, drawing widespread condemnation. “Vinicius played well as always,” Ancelotti said. “His goal was the reward for his work. What happened was disgraceful, but he was focused on the game.”
Wigan sack manager Toure after nine games – ARN News Centre
Championship side Wigan Athletic sacked manager Kolo Toure on Thursday, less than two months into his 3-1/2 year contract, after he failed to win any of his nine games in charge.
The former Arsenal and Manchester City defender was appointed in late November but Wigan took only two points from his seven league games and were also knocked out of the FA Cup by Luton Town after a replay.
Last weekend’s 2-0 loss to Luton in the Championship left Wigan bottom of the table, four points from safety.
“Unfortunately, the results on the field have not been as we would have liked and as tough a decision as this was, the board felt it necessary to give us the best possible chance of remaining a Championship club next season,” Wigan chief executive Malachy Brannigan said in a statement.
Toure, 41, made 353 appearances in the Premier League for Arsenal, City and Liverpool between 2002-16 and earned 120 caps for Ivory Coast. He was in his first managerial role after previously being part of the coaching set-up at Leicester City and Celtic under Brendan Rodgers.
Wigan are now looking for their fifth permanent manager in the last three years. They spent eight seasons in the Premier League before they were relegated in 2013, the same year they won the FA Cup.
Wigan next play at Blackburn Rovers on Feb. 6.
More from Sports
Dubai Desert Classic to welcome spectators with minor adjustments – ARN News Centre
KARIM SAHIB/ AFP
The organisers of Hero Dubai Desert Classic have made minor adjustments to the guest experience on Friday, January 27.
There will be no public parking available at Emirates Golf Club and spectators are strongly advised to use public transport.
The Al Khail Metro Station, located close to the venue will run from 5:00 am to 1:00 am, while RTA and Careem taxis will have a drop-off point directly outside the Club.
Commuters are also advised to check the RTA website for various bus routing options to the site.
Thursday’s opening day was closed to the public due to adverse weather conditions, which meant play was delayed by more than six hours.
— Hero Dubai Desert Classic (@DubaiDCGolf) January 26, 2023