In February 2005, tennis pros Roger Federer and Andre Agassi were in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for the ATP’s Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open, a $1 million International Series Gold event. While in town, they took part in a publicity stunt, engaging in a friendly exhibition tennis match on the grass helipad atop the luxurious Burj Al Arab hotel.
The Burj Al Arab hotel, built upon a man-made island and designed in shape to resemble the sail of a dhow, features a large cantilevered helipad that extends out from one side of the hotel and over the ocean. The helipad itself rests 692 feet above ground level, and on the day depicted in these photographs it was temporarily set up as a tennis court for the exhibition. (A year earlier, golf star Tiger Woods had engaged in a similar publicity stunt, hitting several golf balls off the helipad and into the waters of the Persian Gulf.)
As Andre Agassi said of the experience of playing tennis on a platform several hundred feet in the air:“This was an absolutely amazing experience. When you first get over how high you are and start playing it’s an absolute joy and it was a great time. I had no issues with the height as long as I didn’t have to bungee jump off the side.”
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