DOHA, January 3, 2016
The draw ceremony for the Qatar Exxon Mobil Open with four top-10 players leading the field was held on Saturday at the St. Regis Hotel in Doha. The tournament’s organizers as well as ATP supervisor Gerry Armstrong were joined by three players: Pablo Andújar, Sergiy Stakhovsky and Marsel Ilhan.
In the 32-man-draw, world number one Novak Djokovic will open his 2016 season by taking on a qualifier. The 28-year-old Serbian will talk to the media representatives on Sunday.
Second seed Rafael Nadal, who had just claimed his third Mubadala World Tennis Championship title beating Milos Raonic in Abu Dhabi on Saturday evening, will start his official ATP World Tour campaign, facing fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno-Busta.
“Pablo is a good friend of mine, playing with high potential. It is going to be a tough opener in Doha. I am going to arrive there on Sunday, playing a bit in the afternoon and I will start with the doubles competition (with Fernando Verdasco) on Monday,” Nadal told after winning the exhibition final in Abu Dhabi. Both players met only once on tour, when Nadal beat the Spanish youngster on the clay in Rio de Janeiro last season in straight sets.
Third seed Tomas Berdych will take on Sergiy Stakhovsky, who could only win two sets in the previous six meetings. The tournament’s number four David Ferrer, who finished third in Abu Dhabi, will play with Illya Marchenko another Ukrainian in the first round. The pair will meet for the first time on the tour. Marchenko had some successful last months in 2015, crowned by claiming the ATP Challenger title in Mons last October.
Before the draw ceremony took place, Tareq Zeinal and Saleh Al Mana held a press conference announcing the 22nd consecutive year of ExxonMobil being the title sponsor of the esteemed ATP World Tour 250 event. Tareq said of this event:
“As a first event of the ATP World tour 2016 Calendar, the tournament will see an elite of tennis stars competing here in Doha, including the world no. 1 Novak Djokovic, World No. 5 Rafael Nadal, World No. 6 Tomas Berdych and the defending Champion world No. 7 David Ferrer” and he took the chance to thank ExxonMobil Qatar represented by Mr. Alistair Routledge, the president & the General Manager of ExxonMobil Qatar and Mr. Saleh AlMana Vice President of ExxonMobil Qatar, for their generous support to the game of tennis.”