DOHA, January 2, 2017
Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic officially launched the 2017 ATP World Tour season on Sunday ahead of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha.
Murray and Djokovic played a game of mini-tennis and posed for photos on a specially-constructed elevated court in front of the Museum of Islamic Art, with the backdrop of the Doha skyline.
“It was amazing with an amazing view,” said Murray. “We are very lucky to go to some of the nicest places in the world and it’s a good way to start the year. Novak and I have played many big matches over the years, competing for the sport’s biggest prizes and hopefully it will be the same this year.”
“It is great to start off the season in Doha, returning with memories from 2016 when I started the year in the best possible fashion,” said Djokovic, the defending champion at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open. “I’m looking forward to starting well and continue the good tempo of preparation that I’ve had in the past few weeks. Andy had an incredible 2016, especially the second part of the year, and deserved to be crowned year-end No. 1. It’s great to have him at the tournament, which has always attracted the top players in the world.”
The top two tennis players in the Emirates ATP Rankings are set to resume their battle for the No. 1 spot in the very first week of the season. They brought the curtain down on the 2016 season at The O2 in London by contesting the ATP Finals championship match, which saw Murray prevail to clinch the year-end No. 1 mantle for the first time.
Nine Top 10 players are in action across three ATP World Tour 250 tournaments in the first week of the season. No. 10 Tomas Berdych joins Murray and Djokovic in Doha; No. 3 Milos Raonic, No. 4 Stan Wawrinka, No. 5 Kei Nishikori, No. 8 Dominic Thiem and No. 9 Rafael Nadal feature in a star-studded field at the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp; while No. 6 Marin Cilic headlines the Aircel Chennai Open.
The 2017 ATP World Tour season spans 64 events in 31 countries, offering players a record prize money of close to $120 million. New events will see the Tour travel to Budapest for the Hungarian Open, Antalya in Turkey for the Antalya Open and Milan for the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals. The ATP World Tour is also set to return to Lyon for the first time since 2009 with a new event, the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Lyon, the week of 21 May.