Roger Federer is likely to return to action at Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championships, before heading to Indian Wells for the first Masters 1000 event of the calendar season. Failing to defend his crown Down Under has significantly cut his time on the tennis court this year.

And, that's perhaps one of the reasons that led him to take into consideration some clay court action this year. It would be Federer's first appearance on this surface since 2016. But the clay season has to wait a little longer as the ATP 500 event in Dubai looms ahead. Then, the so-called Sunshine Double is set to steal the show with the first two Masters 1000 events of the season, in Indian Wells and Miami respectively.

Roger Federer aims high in Dubai

According to the tour tracer available on Roger Federer's official website, The Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championships is the next challenge for the Swiss superstar. A tournament he has won seven times in the past (last back in 2015 after a final against Novak Djokovic), Dubai's fast courts may help Federer reach a huge milestone in his professional career.

It's been a while since he won his last ATP event and the 100th title is still on hold. This time, Dubai may be the perfect place to sweeten the pot.

A potential triumph in Dubai would also end a droughty period for Roger Federer. His last triumph on an ATP level tour occurred back in the summer of 2018 as he swept the ATP 250 title in Stuttgart.

When it comes to the opposing field, the pack of men gearing up for this event is quite an interesting one. Marin Cilic, Kei Nishikori, Karen Khachanov, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev, Borna Coric, Milos Raonic are all ranked inside top 20 and, most likely, eager to make a deep run into the tournament.

The Sunshine Double may impact the schedule

Roger Federer has a strong bond with these back-to-back tennis tournaments. Back in 2017, in the aftermath of that epic Australian Open bid, Federer went on to complete the so-called Sunshine Double for the third time in his career.

What made that segment even more special was the way Federer obtained two more consecutive wins over his rival Rafael Nadal.

Almost two years later, things are a bit different. Due to the lack of success in the early start of 2019, Roger Federer's ranking dropped to the world's No. 7. A deep run at those two back-to-back events may cause some change when it comes to the highly-anticipated clay court schedule.

Watching Roger Federer compete on a clay court once more would be a rarity, but if he keeps himself out of the injury trail, we might receive some special treatment this spring when the action will move to Europe's red clay battlefields.