x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Dubai Tennis Championships: Big changes needed before Masters status

While the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships gets rave reviews from players, more seats and more courts will be needed before ATP Tour 1000 status can be achieved.

Large crowds gather for the finals at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship on Saturday. Mike Young / The National
Large crowds gather for the finals at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship on Saturday. Mike Young / The National

For nine of the past 10 years, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships has been voted the best ATP World Tour 500 tournament by the players. Novak Djokovic, the world No 1, believes it is time this event was given ATP World Tour 1000 status.

"I don't know a single player who has played here and has a negative feeling about the tournament," Djokovic said after winning his fourth Dubai title on Saturday. "On the contrary, everybody wishes that this tournament is played for a bit longer time, like we have Indian Wells and Miami."

Tomas Berdych, who lost to Djokovic in the final, said: "I have to tell you that [Dubai] could be easily competing for the best 1000 tournament in the world, as well."

The organisers of the Dubai event will be pleased to hear those words, but they are probably aware the Dubai Tennis Stadium does not meet the ATP's requirement for a World Tour 1000 event.

According to the ATP rule book, a World Tour 1000 venue should have a 10,000-seater main stadium and two show courts, of 3,000 and 1,000 capacity. The stadium in Dubai has a capacity of 5,000, and the show courts seat less than half the required numbers.

The Dubai Tennis Stadium will also need to build a couple of new courts; venues for a 1000 tournament should have a minimum of five match courts and four practice courts; Dubai has four and three. If Dubai Duty Free, the tournament hosts, can make those required changes, a Dubai Masters could become a reality.

arizvi@thenational.ae

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