Seles confirms DDF Open appearance

Tennis legend Monica Seles is to make her second consecutive appearance in the Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open, tournament owner and organiser Dubai Duty Free has announced.

Ranked number 7 in the world, Seles is the fifth women’s top 10 star to sign up for the Sanex WTA Tour event, joining two-time Wimbledon and US Open champion Venus Williams, 2001 and 2002 Australian Open winner Jennifer Capriati, Wimbledon runner-up Justine Henin-Hardenne and reigning Dubai champion Amelie Mauresmo in one of the strongest fields the tournament has ever had.

In 2002, Seles reached the semi-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open, bowing out to Mauresmo. Clearly exhausted after a campaign that had taken her from Melbourne to Tokyo, Paris and Doha before Dubai, her tank was empty by the time she clashed with the talented Frenchwoman.

This year, however, Seles will arrive in Dubai fresh and fighting fit after a minor injury, a sprained ankle, forced her to drop out in the second round of the Australian Open. Chasing her 10th Grand Slam title in Melbourne, the injury was a disappointment for the American, but her break from the game means she will be hungry for rankings points when she returns to the hard courts of Dubai on February 17th. It will be her second attempt to add Dubai to the 53 titles she has earned during her glittering 15-year career.

Commenting on Seles’s decision to play in Dubai, Colm McLoughlin, Managing Director of Dubai Duty Free, said: “At 29 years old Monica is a veteran of the Sanex WTA Tour and one of the greats of the game. Having her return to the Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open for a second consecutive year to compete against the likes of Venus Williams and Jennifer Capriati is a tremendous prospect for tennis fans in the Emirates.”

Last season, Seles won titles in Doha and Madrid, and beat Venus Williams to reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open. She also reached the final in Tokyo, and the semi-finals of Paris, Indian Wells, Miami and Bahia, as well as Dubai.

Climbing to 4 in the world, Seles was a quarter-finalist in the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open, marking the first time in 10 years that she reached the quarter-finals or better in all four Grand Slams in a single season.

“Monica is certainly capable of winning the Dubai title, but the line-up is particularly strong this year and to better her performance in 2002, she’s going to have to produce some of her best tennis,” said McLoughlin.