Dubai, UAE, March 01, 2018: Tournament third seed Roberto Bautista Agut and wild card Marcos Baghdatis had a quick history lesson earlier in the week when they visited the Dubai International Financial Centre Gate and viewed the impressive images of the Founding Father of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Alya Al Zarouni, Executive Vice President - Operations of the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority, said “The Gate represents Dubai International Financial Centre. Much like Hong Kong, Singapore and London represent the gateways to China, South East Asia and Europe, Dubai and DIFC serve as gateways to the vast Middle East, Africa, South Asia (MEASA) region, which includes more than 3 billion people with a GDP of $7.4 trillion. Today, DIFC is ranked among the world's top ten financial centres and the leading financial centre in the MEASA region.
“The scanography artwork on the façade of The Gate building in DIFC portrays the Father of the Nation, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and are DIFC's way of celebrating the Year of Zayed, which marks 100 years since the birth of our Founding Father, and recognises the pivotal role he played in the establishment and development of the UAE.”
Baghdatis and Bautista Agut later reflected on their experiences in Dubai as they had a hit in front of the Gate. Baghdatis, who won his first round match against Viktor Troicki, but fell in the second round to Filip Krajinovic said “I'm happy to be back and to have played at a big event like the Dubai Open. I want to thank the tournament for awarding me with a wildcard, it was a great honour to be back after a very tough year with injury which meant my ranking dropped so I needed the wildcard to play. It is one of the best places to be and to play a match in, the stadium is magnificent and the fans are there all the time cheering, they give so much love to the sport and energy to us as tennis players. It's always an honour and pleasure playing in front of crowds like that. I'm sorry I couldn't go further in the tournament.”
Recent Auckland winner Bautista Agut, who will lay Borna Coric in the semi-finals today, said “I'm very happy to be here, it's one of the special events. I like to come, it's my sixth year in a row. I always try and fit it in to my schedule and I just enjoy playing here. Everything is very comfortable for the players; the conditions are good to play tennis, the weather is good to play tennis and it's a great event.
“I played very well in Auckland, it was an unbelieve start to the season. The last month wasn't what I was expecting but I worked well and I did a good job at home with practicing well and I hope to be back and perform well.
It's always good to start with a win, it's not easy to start a tournament also in Dubai as the conditions are not easy. The ball flies more than usual and you need time to get used to it. It was a good start.”