Just a few weeks ago, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic announced that he would be making his debut at the Qatar Exxon Mobile Open during the 2015 season. Ti will mark the first time since 2009 that the Serbian star takes part in a warm-up event ahead of the Australian Open.
Now, it appears that longtime rival Rafael Nadal will join Djokovic at the season-opening tournament in Doha. The Spaniard is the defending champion at the tournament, after he won it for the first time at the start of the season by defeating Gael Monfils in the final.
“It’s great to have Novak Djokovic the world number one, here for the first time,” said Tournament Director Karim Alami. “I’m sure he’ll bring out lots of Serbian fans. To also have Rafael Nadal our defending champion returning is fantastic especially as we are the first tournament on his return from injury.”
“There is so much depth throughout the player list. Tomas Berdych, David Ferrer, Ernests Gulbis, Fernando Verdasco – a former top-eight player – and former champion Richard Gasquet. It is going to be a great tournament.
“It’s a great draw for the first week of the year; it’s a very important week in the calendar to go to Australia,”
The world No. 3 was diagnosed with appendicitis during the Shanghai Rolex Masters in September and did not end his 2014 season until a quarter-final loss to 17-year-old Borna Coric in Basel. He eventually withdrew from the Paris Bercy and the ATP World Tour Finals and underwent successful surgery to rectify the problem. He also had his knees checked and underwent stem cell therapy.
The world No. 3 is expected to return from the sidelines at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships in December.
The Qatar Exxon Mobil Open takes place between Jan. 4-11 at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex.