The 2017 Qatar ExxonMobil Open represents the starting gate for the new tennis season. Many of the world’s best tennis players open their campaign here. It hosts three top-10 players in the opening week of the season. Andy Murray leads the competitive field alongside defending champion Novak Djokovic, past champions David Ferrer and Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and former finalist Tomas Berdych.
The competition in the 32-player main draw begins on Monday, January 2.
Event: Qatar ExxonMobil Open
Category: ATP 250 Series
Date: January 2-7, 2017
Location: Khalifa International Tennis Complex – Doha, Qatar
The 2017 Qatar Open is one of a few warm-up events for the upcoming Australian Open. Players aren’t entering this tournament in a state of fatigue or soreness. They’re rested and coming off vacations blended with training blocks. There’s never a time of the season when more players are fresher and able to run the way they hope to. The grind of the tour will set in soon enough in February and March.
With a prize money allotment of $1.1 million, this is a very generous purse for an ATP 250 event. Many other 250s won’t come all that close to this kind of prize money. It’s one lure for the best players in the world before going to Australia.
Champion – 250
Runner-up – 150
Semifinal – 90
Quarterfinal – 45
Former Champions and Results (5 Years)
Year Champion Runner-up Score
2016: Novak Djokovic d. Rafael Nadal 6-1, 6-2
2015: David Ferrer d. Tomas Berdych 6-4, 7-5
2014: Rafael Nadal d. Gael Monfils 6-1, 6-7(5-7), 6-2
2013: Richard Gasquet d. Nikolay Davydenko 3-6, 7-6(7-4), 6-3
2012: Jo-Wilfred Tsonga d. Gael Monfils 7-5, 6-3
Newly crowned No. 1 Andy Murray won back to back titles here in 2008 and 2009. He knows the surface, the conditions and most importantly how to win. In 2017, he’ll enter the tournament in the best possible shape and perhaps in the best of form, but the pressure to prove ‘he is the best’ will be tremendous. It will be intriguing to see whether he wilts under the extra baggage of the No. 1 tag or blossoms under the crown. With Novak Djokovic also present in Doha, the Scot will hope to make an immediate statement of intent against his biggest nemesis.
Novak Djokovic finds himself in an unfamiliar territory– ranked No. 2 in the world. Djokovic didn’t fare as badly as you think. The Serb is the victim of his own stratospheric standard. Just look at his 2015 season. The absence of his chief rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal may have punctured his desire to continue at his own lofty level. The second half slip-up last year may just be the inspiration he needs to restart his journey to the top.
Djokovic returns to Qatar as the defending champion and will hope for a similar result as he prepares for his Australian Open title defense. The win last year opened the floodgates and set the tone right away. Can he replicate his magic once again?
Tomas Berdych has spent more than 15 seasons on the professional tour and has been a regular fixture in the top 10 for the better part of seven years. The 31 year-old Czech star has victories over all members of the Big Four, a Slam final, a Masters event to his name, and multiple Davis Cup titles. For all his talent, however, he has never won a major title. The time is running out for the tall Czech. Can 2017 bring any luck?
Berdych made the semifinals in Doha last year and was the finalist a year before. With Djokovic and Murray in top form, Berdych will need to come up with something spectacular to beat his best result.
For the first time since 2010, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga went title-less but ended the year on a promising note, making quarterfinals in Shanghai and the Paris Masters as well as the finals in Vienna. Tsonga’s season was hampered with injuries– the Frenchman had to withdraw from his home Slam (third round) and then from the U.S. Open quarterfinal. The knee injury was particularly severe and also kept him out of tennis for some time. However, Tsonga’s late season resurgence means he feels confident to compete, he is free of any pain, and it also raises his expectations for 2017.
Khalifa International Tennis Complex
The Khalifa International Tennis Complex opened in 1992 and expanded in 2008. The facility has 27 courts with a stadium court seating just over 4,100 people. It has hosted the year-end WTA Tour Championship earlier this century.
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