DOHA, January 3, 2016
Ahead of the start of the main draw of the Qatar Exxon Mobil Open in Doha, world number one Novak Djokovic met the media at St. Regis Hotel on Sunday afternoon. The 28-year-old Serbian arrived early on Wednesday at Qatar’s capital city and will open his 2016 campaign against German qualifier Dustin Brown on Monday. It will be the pair’s first meeting on the tour.
“I am looking forward to playing here. This is my second outing in Doha and it’s a perfect start to the season with great line-up of players,” Djokovic said on Sunday and added that he would play to win every match.
“Grand Slams and Olympic Games are the priority of the season, but it’s a long season, so I can’t really predict what’s going to happen or guarantee if I am going to win any of the Grand Slams or all four. Of course, I am going to try to win every tournament and every Grand Slam that I play on, that’s kind of the mindset that I have,” he told.
Djokovic captured 11 titles in 2015 including the victories at the Australian Open, Wimbledon, US-Open as well as the ATP World Tour Finals. The tournament in Doha last year represented one of his rare failures as Ivo Karlovic beat him in three seats in the quarterfinals.
Second seed Rafael Nadal arrived on Sunday in Doha. The world number 5 from Spain played a successful exhibition tournament at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship this weekend, lifting his third trophy in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. Nadal will face Pablo Carreno-Busta in the opening round but starts the tournament by playing doubles on Monday with Fernando Verdasco facing the team of Teymuraz Gabashvili and Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
“Very happy to be in Doha soon for the Qatar Open. It is always a great way to start the season. Always found great warmth at this event from the staff and spectators. Fantastic event,” Nadal said at this arrival in Doha.
Nadal’s fellow countryman David Ferrer also arrived in Qatar the same day. The Spanish world number 7 finished third in Abu Dhabi.
“I’m pleased to kick-off my new season in Doha again, I have lovely memories here, especially after clinching the title last season. I will be there to defend my title and I hope I will be able to do so,” said the fouth seed, who will face Illya Marchenko in the first round.
Later in the afternoon the tournament’s two top-seeds met for a photo stunt in the desert (photos QTF):