I found this article while surfing earlier today. Looks like Dubai is going to be an excellent field this year. Here is the link to the article:-
Agassi, Federer, Safin confirm entries
15 December 2004
DUBAI — American tennis superstar Andre Agassi has confirmed his place in what will be a star-studded line-up when the Dubai Tennis Championships are staged from February 21 to March 5, 2005.
The winner of eight Grand Slam titles, an Olympic gold medal and almost $30 million in prize-money, there are no bigger box office attractions than the flamboyant 34-year-old Las Vegas showman and his appearance in Dubai for the first time is a massive vote of confidence for the tournament.
Agassi will join a cast including World No 1 Roger Federer and the hard-hitting Russian Marat Safin. In the women’s tournament, World No 1 Lindsay Davenport will also make her first appearance in Dubai, as will Serena Williams, while Justine Henin-Hardenne and Venus Williams will make welcome returns.
“The name of Andre Agassi is up there with the likes of Perry, Laver, Borg, McEnroe and Sampras — he is a tennis living legend,” said a delighted Colm McLoughlin, Managing Director of Dubai Duty Free, owners and organisers of the Dubai Tennis Championships.
“Not only is he one of the most popular players in tennis, he is also one of the greatest names in sport and still competing at the highest level. Having Andre play in Dubai for the first time truly underlines how the city has grown to become a sporting centre on par with anywhere in the world.”
For the first time, the two-week Dubai Tennis Championships will be launched by the Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open from February 21-27 with the Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open following from February 28 to March 5. Both tournaments will be held at the Dubai Tennis Stadium.
Over the years, the tournament has consistently attracted the greatest names in the game but it is former world number one Agassi, with four Australian Opens, two US Opens, one French Open title and one Wimbledon men’s singles’ crown to his name, who will be one of the biggest stars to set foot on the Dubai tennis stage.
Born to an Iranian father who boxed at the 1948 and 1952 Olympics, Agassi has been the most entertaining player in the game for the past 15 years. A product of the famed Nick Bollettieri’s tennis camp in Florida, Agassi turned pro at 16 and quickly made a name for himself with a bad boy image, colourful outfits and a succession of outrageous hairstyles.
But the American showed there was much more to his game than mere flamboyance and in 1992 defeated Goran Ivanisevic in the Wimbledon Men’s Singles finals at the All England Club to claim his first major title.
With his 1999 win in the French Open at Roland Garros, he also became the first man since Rod Laver in the 1960s to win all four Grand Slam events in his career and the only player besides German tennis star Steffi Graf to win all four plus an Olympic gold medal for singles. Ironically, he and Graff soon began dating and the high-profile tennis couple wed in 2001 and now have two children. Agassi has also participated in many charity organisations, including founding the Andre Agassi Charitable Association, which assists the youth of Las Vegas. In 1995, he has won the ATP Arthur Ashe’s Humanitarian award in recognition of his efforts helping disadvantaged youth in LA.
Although the 2005 Dubai Tennis Championships - which, for the men, will be in its 12th year — is expected to attract half of the world’s top ten players as well as Agassi, Dubai Duty Free will freeze ticket prices at 2004 levels.
“The Dubai public have helped this event to grown into the success story it is today and we want to repay them by keeping ticket prices at a reasonable level,” added McLoughlin. “Andre Agassi has millions of fans all over the world and we confidently expect his appearance to be a great boost not only for the tournament but also for sport in the Middle East.”
The Dubai Tennis Championships has won a total of 10 ATP/WTA awards — the inaugural Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open won the Tournament of the Year award from the WTA, while the Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open won the equivalent award in 1998 and 2003.
The Dubai Tennis Championships is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free and takes place under the patronage of General Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Minister of Defence.