Watch ATP Doha live from Monday 5 January as Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic begin their 2015 seasons at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open.
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World no. 1 Novak Djokovic will play ATP Doha for the first time in 2015 while Rafael Nadal returns to defend the title he won in 2014, defeating Gael Monfils, at the head of a strong field including top-10 player Tomas Berdych at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open.
The 250 event held in the city of Doha on the Persian Gulf coast is the first of two ATP World Tour events held in the Middle East and attracts an unusually strong field for a 250 due to its fortuitous position on the calendar.
One of three 250 events held in the first week of official ATP World Tour competition in the new season, the Qatar ExxonMobil Open is a favoured spot for top players to begin their seasons. Refreshed after a 6-7 week break after the end of the previous season and fitter than ever after intensive fitness training and practice, the players are hungry for points as they look to get their years off to the best possible start – and eager to tune up their games on the outdoor hard courts of the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex ahead of the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year.
The 32-man draw has attracted top competitors since ATP Doha was played for the first time in 1993, when Boris Becker won the inaugural edition, defeating Stefan Edberg in the semifinals and Goran Ivanisevic in the final.
Former Doha champions Stefan Koubek, Younes el-Aynaoui, Fabrice Santoro, Gael Monfils, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Nicolas Escude, Roger Federer and Stefan Edberg are honoured at the Qatar Open (KARIM JAAFAR/AFP/Getty Images)
Edberg would get his revenge the very next year when he won back-to-back titles at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open, foreshadowing the achievements of his star pupil Roger Federer, who became the first man since Edberg – who would become his coach – to win back-to-back titles in Doha in 2005-6 when he defeated Ivan Ljubicic and Gael Monfils respectively. Federer also became the first man to win three titles when he won again in Doha in 2011, beating defending champion Nikolay Davydenko in the final.
US Open and Wimbledon champion Andy Murray became the second man to win back-to-back titles at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open when he defeated Stan Wawrinka in 2008 and Andy Roddick in 2009, with a pair of French stars – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet – winning the title in 2012 and 2013.
Rafael Nadal won the Qatar ExxonMobil Open for the first time in six attempts in 2014 when he defeated Lukas Rosol, Ernests Gulbis and Gael Monfils on his way to the title. It would be the only hard-court title Nadal would capture in a 2014 season that was marred by back and wrist injuries and appendicitis.
But after missing the end of the 2014 season, Nadal begins anew in 2015 and Doha is the place he has chosen to do it. Nadal will face stiff competition to defend his title, however, with world no. 1 Novak Djokovic due to play in Doha for the first time – playing an ATP World Tour event before the Australian Open for the first time since 2009.
Nadal and Djokovic will be joined by a strong field including Tomas Berdych at the 2015 Qatar ExxonMobil Open when the 2015 season kicks off on Monday 5 January.
Watch the Qatar ExxonMobil Open live:
1. Go to bet365
and sign in or fill in your details to open an account;
2. Click 'live streaming' and select 'tennis' from the dropdown menu;
3. Watch ATP Doha live online!