ATP 50: Agassi, Federer, & The Heliport Court
Stunning stadiums set in glamorous destinations have long been part of life on the road for the best players in the world, but that doesn’t mean the ATP Tour can't throw a surprise or two their way. Just ask Andre Agassi and Roger Federer.
In 2005, the legendary duo stepped out to play on the helipad at the top of the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, 690 feet above the ground. This iconic meeting in the clouds is one of 50 game-changing moments of the past 50 years collated by ATPTour.com in an immersive feature, part of the ATP's anniversary celebrations.
At a time when the ATP Tour extended its broadcast reach to more than 200 countries in 1998, a new STARS program was established to help make players more accessible to media, sponsors and fans at each tournament. Perhaps the most memorable promotional activity came on 22 February 2005, when organisers of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships invited Roger Federer and Andre Agassi to hit for 20 minutes on a tennis court positioned on the helipad of the super luxurious Burj Al Arab hotel, more than 200 metres above sea level.
"It was an absolutely amazing experience,” said Agassi. “When you first get over how high you are and start playing, it's an absolute joy, and it was a great time.” Federer added, “It was amazing. We had this picture-perfect day, no sand storms, just a clear day, no winds.
“I didn’t know at the time, when we were doing this, that it was going to have such an impact. I had an idea of how we could make it better. We had a helicopter, which was going to film it all around, [and] really show on what kind of a platform we were playing. Instead of just having a picture taken of the hotel.”
From classic matches to legendary players, relive all 50 game-changing moments.