Anticipation is building ahead of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which are due to start next week.Running from February 18th until March 2nd, the competition is undoubtedly one of the highlights of Dubai's sporting calendar in 2013.A number of the top ranked male and female stars on the planet will participate, including world number one Novak Djokovic.The Serbian superstar comes into the tournament after winning his fourth Australian Open title and he seems to feel right at home in the UAE."Dubai is always a great tournament," he remarked."A lot of the players have the same opinion as me. We feel very comfortable in this tournament."The championships will be held at the Dubai Tennis Stadium, which is one of the best appointed sporting venues in the Middle East.Djokovic has played in top-class arenas all over the world, but it seems that Dubai has a special place in his heart."The site is great and the weather of course is fantastic and the organisers make us feel really good," he added."I really look forward to coming back. You always have very good and intensive matches here and the attendance is great."The women's tournament looks particularly competitive this year, with an incredible 17 of the world's top 20 expected to take part.Organisers managed to strengthen the line-up this week when they offered a wildcard entry to French number one Marion Bartoli, who is currently the 11th best female on the planet.She rose as high as seventh in the ATP rankings in 2012 and she will be hoping that a strong performance in the Gulf will help her force her way back into the top ten.Like Djokovic, Bartoli has a string of titles to her name, having won seven singles tournaments and three doubles competitions during her career to date.The fact that such top class athletes are so keen to perform in Dubai emphasises the fact that the city is fast becoming a global sporting hub.