Following another extraordinary Australian Open, we see the return of Roger Federer and Andy Murray in Dubai this week. To watch Federer back at his vintage best was amazing, but can he maintain it? He looked unstoppable last month.
Of course his tournament chances were aided by the early exits of Novak Djokovic and Murray, but you just can’t fault the credibility of his wins. Let’s not forget he was returning from a six month injury break too. Federer faced Nishikori in the quarter-finals, who had reached the final at Brisbane in the build-up, so to beat him in a final set decider was a brilliant win. An all Swiss semi-final with Stan Wawrinka also went the way over Federer in another five set thriller. Up stepped Rafael Nadal to try and stop the resurgence, it was an impossible task and Federer lifted his 5th Australian Open title.
Murray returns after taking a month out, and will be buoyed after a shock defeat to Mischa Zverez in Melbourne. Hopefully Murray gets back to the very high standard he was hitting last year, which saw him win nine titles, including Wimbledon and Queens. He will be hoping for a return to form here, before hitting the clay courts in preparation for The French Open.
Tomas Berdych arrives on the back of a semi-final defeat in Rotterdam to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, so he will be hoping to go a step further this time round.The entertainer himself, Gael Monfils is always an entry I look for, capable of beating anyone on his day. Wawrinka completes a strong line-up in his first tournament since Melbourne, and will no doubt provide the fans with some quality tennis.
Prediction: Dubai Championships promises to be a brilliant tournament again. Although Federer was superb last month, I fancy Murray to return to action with a point to prove. He was playing at that high of a standard last year, that anyone was struggling to get even a set off him. I think a months break will have done him the world of good, and I expect him to bounce back from a poor Australian Open and win in Dubai, going into the clay court season full of confidence.