Seles threatens to spoil Williams walkover in Dubai

The Dubai Tennis Championships will see a Grand Slam-style showdown between Venus Williams and her main rival for the Dubai crown, Monica Seles, if the pair’s devastating form continues.

Seeded two for the Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open, which kick starts the two-week women’s and men’s Dubai Tennis Championships on 18th February, Australian Open semi-finalist Seles presents the biggest threat to a walkover by number one seed and reigning Wimbledon and US Open champion Williams.

According to the seedings, Seles and Williams are destined to clash in the women’s week final on 23rd February, in what will be a replay of their Australian Open quarter final, which Seles won, 6/7(4) 6/2 6/3.

Now a 28-year old veteran, Seles remains a major threat on the Sanex WTA Tour, as she demonstrated in 2001 with sweeping victories at tournaments in Brazil, Japan and China.

Having won nine Grand Slam titles and been ranked number one, Seles is enjoying the game more than ever and will be arriving in Dubai at what she claims is “The best time in my career”.

“I truly love the game of tennis. It’s why I play,” she said. “Obviously the success that I had at the beginning of my career was amazing, and probably would have continued if my stabbing didn’t happen. Since then it has been a lot tougher. I’m probably not at the same level I was. The competition is a lot stronger.

“But as long as I keep working hard, and it’s most important that I stay healthy too at this stage, I do believe I have as good a shot as anybody else in the draw. This is probably the best time in my career. I’m only playing because I’m enjoying it. There are no pressures on me.”

Commenting on Seles’s decision to play in Dubai, Colm McLoughlin, Managing Director of Dubai Duty Free, said: “Monica is one of the legends of the women’s game and we are thrilled that she will be playing in the Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open.

“With the likes of Sandrine Testud competing in a strong women’s field, it is by no means certain that Venus and Monica will meet in the final. But there is no doubt that if one player stands between Venus and the Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open title it is Monica Seles and if both are on top of their game Dubai fans are in for a treat.”

The Dubai Tennis Championships, comprising the Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open and Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open, are held under the patronage of HH General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Minister of Defence, UAE. The tournament runs from 18th February to 3rd March 2002.