DUBAI: Tennis superstar Serena Williams and world number one Victoria Azarenka will be among the hottest contenders to claim the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships crown when play gets underway in just under a month’s time.
Williams last year underlined her position as one of the greatest ever to play the game during yet another stellar season which saw her claim not only Wimbledon, the US Open and WTA Championships titles, but a gold medal in both singles and doubles at the London Olympics. This year she carried on where she left off at the end of last season by sweeping her way through the draw to win her 47th career singles title in Brisbane. She is now through to the quarter finals of the Australian open where she has yet to drop a set.
“The Dubai title is a tough one to get, but it is definitely on my radar this year” said Williams. “I would really like to do well this year”.
Azarenka was unable to play here last year despite arriving in Dubai fresh off her triumph at the Australian Open, where she defeated Maria Sharapova to win her maiden Grand Slam title. She also won in Doha, but en-route to claiming the title there she injured her ankle, and despite receiving treatment in Dubai it failed to heal in time for her to play.
Azarenka did some of her off-season training in Dubai and is looking forward to playing this year. “I didn’t get to play last year so I am looking forward to it this year” she said.
“Both Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka have proved themselves to be great champions at the very highest level of the game,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of Tournament owners and organisers Dubai Duty Free. “But neither have yet won the title here in Dubai and they will be very keen to fill that space in their trophy cabinet.”
But both Williams and Azarenka will face formidable hurdles as they vie for the coveted Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title, with an incredible 17 of the world’s top 20 players expected to compete.