Djokovic, Nadal Lead Loaded Doha; ATP/WTA Week 1 Previews
by Staff | January 2nd, 2016, 8:56 pm

Doha, Qatar
Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Tomas Berdych, David Ferrer, Feliciano Lopez, Andreas Seppi, Jeremy Chardy, Leonardo Mayer

Floaters: Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco

Notes: Four Top 10 heavy hitters but the quality falls off after that…The top-seeded Djokovic after a bye will likely start against Hot Sauce…Wildcards were awarded to Turkey’s Marsel Ilhan, Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri, and Qatar’s Mubarak Shannan Zayid…Pulling from the event were Steve Darcis, Richard Gasquet, and Guido Pella…Federer has won the most singles titles of any player in Doha, and is a perfect 3-0 in finals…Ferrer beat Berdych in last year’s final…Nadal, who is playing doubles with Verdasco, has won the most doubles titles of anyone at the event with four (2005,’09,’11,’15)…Former singles champs in the field are Ferrer (2015), Nadal (2014), and Federer (2011,’06-05).

Chennai, India

Seeds: Stan Wawrinka, Kevin Anderson, Benoit Paire, Roberto Bautista Agut, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Gilles Muller, Vasek Pospisil, Borna Coric

Floaters: Nicolas Almagro, Lukas Rosol, Marcel Granollers

Notes: Wawrinka the lone Top 10 player in the field…Potential tough starts for (3) Paire after a bye vs. the upset king Rosol, and the young (8) Coric vs. the Spanish veteran Granollers…Wildcards went to Russians Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev, and India’s Ramkumar Ramanathan…Pulling out of the tournament were Yuki Bhambri, Andreas “Don’t Be a” Haider-Maurer, Lu Yen-Hsun, and Janko Tipsarevic…Stan the Man is the two-time defending champ, last year in the final topping Aljaz Bedene…Wawrinka (2015-14,’11) is the lone former champ in the field.

Auckland, New Zealand

Seeds: Venus Williams, Ana Ivanovic, Caroline Wozniacki, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Sloane Stephens, Coco Vandeweghe, Barbora Strycova, Alison Van Uytvanck

Floaters: Mona Barthel, Francesca Schiavone

Notes: One one Top 10 player in Venus Williams, but the field boasts two other former No. 1s, a former world No. 2 and a French Open champ…Wildcards went to New Zealand’s Marina Erakovic, Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko and Schiavone…Venus is the defending champ, winning her first Auckland title last year when she came from a set down to beat Wozniacki in the final…Cake draw for the top seed, who could remain untested until the semis when she will likely face Kuznetsova or Vandeweghe…Former champs in the field are Venus (2015) and Ivanovic (2014), who beat Venus in the final that year. Venus will attempt to join Eleni Daniilidou (2003-04) and Patty Fendick (1988-89) as the lone back-to-back winners at Auckland.

Shenzhen, China

Seeds: Agnieszka Radwanska, Petra Kvitova, Irina-Camelia Begu, Monica Niculescu, Johanna Konta, Eugenie Bouchard, Zarina Diyas, Annika Beck

Floaters: Donna Vekic, Alison Riske

Notes: Two Top 10ers in the field…Potential tough starts for (6) Bouchard vs. Vekic, and (8) Beck vs. Riske…Wildcards were awarded to China’s Duan Yingying and Zhang Shuai, and Russia’s Irina Khromacheva…Pulling out of the tournament were Olga Govortsova and Urszula Radwanska…If the top two seeds reach the final it will be a rematch of the year-end 2015 WTA Finals…In last year’s final Simona Halep (playing in Brisbane this week) defeated Timea Bacsinszky…No former champions are in the field.

For the Brisbane men’s and women’s previews click here.


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52 Comments for Djokovic, Nadal Lead Loaded Doha; ATP/WTA Week 1 Previews

Chrisford1 Says:

Interesting this is only the 2nd time Djokovic has played Doha. Before last year, when he had his only non-final loss of 2015, Nole either ski’d or played Hopman Cup this time of year.

Hope we see Nad-Nole happen!

Gypsy Gal Says:

I can thoroughly understand why Novak fans love and look forward to a possible Rafa/Novak match up,Rafa has been Novaks pigeon lately,so why wouldnt they?….

Giles Says:

Alison. Your choice of words leave much to be desired. Sheesh!

Daniel Says:

CF1, Djoko making finals snd he complete a full year of fonals reach in all tourneys play: 16 (4 Slams, 1 WTF, 8 Masters, 2 atp 500 and 1 atp 250). Don’t see any big server in his draw so his path seems pretty clear this time. Only semis thingscan get interesting if Berdy cames to play. Same for Nadal with Ferrer in semis as well.

Margot Says:

Daniel: Berdych????????? He’s got as much chance of beating Nole as I have. Maybe less…;)
I think Ferrer is gonna slip down the greasy pole. Mind you I thought that last year and the year before and….
GG: Last year all the players were Nole’s pigeons, I wouldn’t cross any bridges yet.
I just hope the “kids” can make some waves. Mind you I said that last year and the year before and…:)

Gypsy Gal Says:

Margot yeah true,but i just mentioned that because that rivalry was the one that came up,anyway i dont believe for a minute that people would feel the same,if the shoe were on the other foot,and this is an overall generalisation,and yes i too hope for a year thats well contested,and not one where everyone else is one players puppets all the time….

Daniel Says:

I too believe Berdy has minimum chance, but compared to the there players in the dark, Djoko and Nadal aint losing before semis, no one is a real threat t damm. Berry and Ferre at least are top 10 (although I place them in the lower end for the end of the year). Maybe if they are on a good day and the top not, they have a chance. But the other players has less of a chance then these 2.

Extreme Tennis Says:

Thanks for sharing this with us we are waiting payy new season.


Wog Boy Says:

Something tells me that Djokovic and Ljubicic families won’t be socializing much in the future in Monaco, and they were house friends, this is what Nole said after asked (I presume in Doha) about Ljubicic decision to coach Roger, my translation:

“To be honest I am surprised…but we are professionals…I think Roger hired Ljubicic since he knows my game well and the game of all other active players too..”Đoković+iznenađen+što+Ljubičić+trenira+Federera.html

Gypsy Gal Says:

Wogboy how do you translate the link so i can understand it please?….

Wog Boy Says:

I translated it because it is in Serbian, you can do Google translation but I am wrong person to ask how, I tried few times in the past and was successful only ones, I think the others can help you better. I am just dumb when it comes to internet..not just internet..

Wog Boy Says:


On the other note, that interview was done in Doha yesterday, it was in English so mine was translation of translation, maybe somebody have link for original interview, in english.

Chrisford1 Says:

Rafa and Nole goofing around today in with their Qatari hosts. Makeshift sand court, camels, helicopter pilot for the sheikhs…It could not be a more surreal 8 seconds of video.

Thanks to a Rafa fan for the vid.

Yolita Says:

Don’t fall into the trap of journos creating controversy. Novak was asked whether it would be weird to see his good friend sitting in Roger’s box. Novak tried to dismiss the question and said that they were professional. And that he wished them both the best.
The media wants ro milk the Ivan story. Nothing to see there, in my opinion. I saw a tennis site in Spanish with the headline “Novak surprised at Ljubicic’s infidelity”… That’s a bit much. They were friends, not particularly close ones, at that.
Tomorrow Novak plays Dustin Brown, a tricky opponent when trying to shake the rust off… It will be fun. :D

Purcell Says:

Ljub and Rog have been mates for a good number of years. That’s all there is to it.

Wog Boy Says:


Thanks for the link of original interview.


Thanks for your opininon, though I mostly agree there is a part I disagree. In our mentality, when you befriend somebody and let him in your house for a drink, meal, watching movies, like Ljubicic family was allowed in Nole home, then you open up yoursef and talk far more (about everything) than you would ever talk with any of your colleagues. It is sort of “La famiglia” Balkan way, and they are all Balkan boys and girls. When we make friends we make friends for ever, so I am pretty sure he was taken aback when he heard that Ljubicic left Raonic for Federer and I am pretty sure they will not be watching Balkan movies together in their respective homes in Monte Carlo together anytime soon if ever.

Wog Boy Says:

Being “friends” and being “house friends” are very different things or should I say relationships, particulary in different no that certain poster doesn’t have a clue about.

Not everybody leaves by the moto of your former prime minister “there are no friends forever, there are only interests forever”, we do make friends forever.

Wog Boy Says:

^^^ should say:

“Being “friends” and being “house friends” are very different things or should I say relationships, particulary in the different CULTURE that certain poster doesn’t have a clue about.”

Wog Boy Says:


My last two posts (7:33 and 7:35pm) are not for you.

danica Says:

Hahah, Nole is not concerned (?!) about Ljubicic being Federer’s coach. There is nothing Ljubicic can tell or suggest to Roger that he does not know himself. I am more surprised at Moya going over to Raonic camp. It will be interesting when Milos and Rafa play. Ouch!

Wog Boy Says:


It is not about Federer, he is entitled to have who ever he wants, it is also not about any inside infotmation that Ljubicic might have (which is possible) it is about something else and I am pretty sure you know what..loyalty to friends.
This is why I like Boris Becker even more:

“Becker, the German coach of World No. 1 Novak Djokovic stated in a recent interview that he wouldn’t leave the camp of the Serbian even if other top players in the tour try to convince him to jump ship.

In a long interview with German website, Becker described himself a fair person and one that is loyal to Djokovic stating that he wouldn’t change team even if the likes of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer or Andy Murray try to tap him as coach.”

In another interview he stated that when he finishes coaching Nole you won’t see him in another players box as long as Nole is active player and I fully trust Boris words.

danica Says:

Speaking of Doha: “Former singles champs in the field are Ferrer (2015), Nadal (2014), and Federer (2011,’06-05).”

Roger is, of course, not playing Doha.

danica Says:

I don’t know how good friends Novak and Ivan are/were. I know that Roger is Ivan’s good friend since forever, one of the best on tour. So, it seems like he is more loyal to Roger than to his Balkan buddies, Milos and Novak. But still, there is nothing Roger can get from him regarding Novak. Nole may have been surprised at this choice, but I am also sure that the spite will be a driving force for him. WB, you know what I mean ;)

Chrisford1 Says:

It is a coach shift that will be discussed for a while to come. All parties say no animosity exists, only surprise Ljubicic bolted on Fed’s smmons to him, and “it’s all being handled as professionals do”.

There is a soap opera quality to this. Novak has been Milo’s mentor, practice partner, and social buddy to an extent. Now he is going to be continuing that and now will have Rafa’s idol and mentor around as Raonic’s coach and probably do some things like dinner and practices now and then with Carlos.. And Rafa not asking Moya to come to his Team, is a sign that Moya and all the Nadals agree that a desperation coaching change is not needed.

I personally thing that Nole probably believes like many players do, that coaches should not ditch players that have followed the coach and are making good progress. And Novak (and others) likely believes that no player in turn should do a Eugenie Bouchard – dump the coach that brought her to fame and endorsements and the Wimbledon finals. Bouchard is reaping what she sowed.
Generally, coach shifts follow etiquette – Lendl and Edberg say up front they are only going to be around for a limited time or coaching is done on understanding that they may not be renewed even with a good result as coach when the contract time is over, or they know and the player know when.

It is mysterious in a coach that helped Raonic make the Top 10 and having in Raonic a very smart and coachable charge would not want to stay with someone young with a long career ahead of him. A player who lives less than 1,000 meters away. Not in some glass house way off in the Alps. Who has a couple years left, max.
Maybe it came down to money – Fed just gave Ljubicic too good a deal to turn down.
Which I think would make it much more acceptable. Not all ex-players were superstars who made all the money they need back in their playing days.

J-Kath Says:


It resonates of the Andy and Thomas coaching exchange – obviously not totally similar, but close. All we need now is some loud gloating from the Honourable Mrs. Federer.

Wog Boy Says:

Danica, I do know what you mean. They were really good friends, I remember Ivan’s interview few years back about Nole and there socializing in Monte Carlo and getting out for a lunches together as families, and how Nole , even in the restaurants, never eats anything but gluten free food and how we haven’t seen best of Nole yet, that was after Nole’s amazing 2011. Just to realize how good friends they were have a look a this video, Nole interviewing Ivan, sorry english speaking people, Nole and Ivan are communicating on mother tongue:

Wog Boy Says:


Very good analysis, I like it.

Chrisford1 Says:

Another person on another tennis forum had a “read” on this coach juggling I like…

” It’s obvious that Federer, who is winding down his career, wants his buddy Ljubicic to accompany him in his final years on the ATP tour as well as to bring Ljubicic into Federer’s post-tennis business plans in future.”

Ljubicic is called by Djokovic a calm person in all times, sharp, insightful and Djokovic said that Ivan would help any player as coach with all his attributes.

So that is another reason – Fed gets a no drama guy with the attributes of a successful executive that might be going to help Roger’s ventures off the court when this active player coaching ends. The RF Foundation, Rogers Team8 sports agency…

As for Becker, he talked in December about how pleased he is with his coaching role with Novak, that Djokovic is a fine listener willing to accept that he may have been doing some things wrong, that Nole was receptive to life lessons off court Boris has gone through as a superstar in his day, and how Novak is owed his loyalty..(as Wog Boy said).
In remarks for Doha, Djokovic in turn said to the Peninsula Qatar that the doubters of the Nole-Boris collaboration have been proven wrong. And said of Becker:

[“He had a great relationship and communication with Marian and the rest of the team from day he joined the team,” he said.
“He’s a very wise man, he’s very smart. He knows when to communicate, what to say. He is completely understanding of me and my life, and he’s trying to help me as a person and a player as much as he can.
“I’m very grateful to have him on board as everybody else on the team and I think this kind of team has helped me to achieve such success in 2015,” ]

Gypsy Gal Says:

Grr I cant help but get irritated whenever i see photos or videos of my favorites Rafa and Andy practising with Novak,they are much too friendly with him,they need to keep their distance and be a lot more buisness like,and try to figure out ways to beat the guy,a bit more annymosity and alot less respect might even fire both up when facing him….

Giles Says:

All this coach / player malarkey is simply a question of honey > bees. As long as the players are successful and in winning mode Becker Schmecker will hang around. All a question of $$$$$$.

Ben Pronin Says:

So Nadal doesn’t get a new coach because he doesn’t want to pay one, is that right?

Giles Says:

Joker needs 2 coaches for a 250 event. Lol

Margot Says:

I remember at the Beijing Olympics all the tennis players, except Fed, stayed in the Olympic village. Fed had kids then so that might have been a reason but I’ve no idea if they were there, but another reason might indeed be that he was deliberately keeping his distance.

RZ Says:

@Margot – when are we going to see you play Nole? I would pay to see that. :-)

Also, re: Fed not staying in the Olympic village (or not), he was mobbed by all the athletes anytime he went anywhere in the village so it was a good choice for him not to stay there.

RZ Says:

Didn’t see a Hopman Cup thread so posting here. This is pretty funny:

Heather on Andy: “he’s quite the ladies man.” Andy: “I didn’t know that.”

Wog Boy Says:

“I remember at the Beijing Olympics all the tennis players, except Fed, stayed in the Olympic village.”

Since Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Mirka would never ever let Roger stay in olympic village again, she knowa very well what happened in the village then..

Margot Says:

Oh come on Wog Boy, don’t make me google this hot gossip.
Be brave….;)
RZ: just discussing this with my agent now….Think Nole may have to agree to a rather large handicap tho…..before I agree…..
Saw highlights of Andy’s match, he’s looking good and won 20/21 net points! Way to go!

RZ Says:

@Margot – see if your agent can get Nole to agree to a handicap for all of his matches in 2016. :-)

Wog Boy Says:

Margot, no need too google and it is not a gossip, Mirka and Roger started their relationship in Sydney 2000 olympic village and Mirka knows very well all the dangers of staying in olympic village, she doesn’t take any risks ..;)

J-Kath Says:

Wog Boy

Roger + Mirka is a traditional marriage ..a vow ensured by …till death us do part.OR? ….too much at stake otherwise ..and don’t forget they are both Swiss…both know the dangers of Olympic village get-togethers…Neither Take Risks…(PS: I have lived in that truly beautiful country…left more worldly wise and rather cynical).

Wog Boy Says:


Actually, Mirka is Slovakian, I even saw their girls once during the match in Roger’s box reading, what appears to be, Slovakian comic books with the nanny next to them, I presume nanny was Slovakian too.
You probably wonder how I know it was Slovakian language, Slovakian and Serbian are slavic languages and similar too, I could see the words on the front cover of the books.

J-Kath Says:

Didn’t she grow up in and play for Switzerland where she met Roger|?

If not, she quickly learned….

Wog Boy Says:

You are are right, but I guess she wants her girls to know one more language, mother’s language and Slovakian nannies are cheaper than Swiss ones:)

Daniel Says:

Djoko start the year strong with a 6-2 6-2 victory breaking a decent server in Brown. Lopez lost so only Berdy (yeah right) can stop him from reaching final 16 in a row. Nadal plays tomorrow and Fed only Thursday.

Okiegal Says:

@Wog Boy 5:07…..I think you need to change your moniker to Eagle Eye. Apparently you have excellent vision to read writing on a comic book. You must have been very close…….When I go see Rafa I hope I can get close to Rafa’s box. I might could get a selfie with Uncle Tony!! LOL

Okiegal Says:

@J-Kath 4:08……Tell us more….this sounds very interesting! LOL

What goes on at the Olympic Village????

Wog Boy Says:

Even better, I could see it all the way from Sydney…thanks to the cameraman who focused on Roger box and my fairly big TV screen..

Wog Boy Says:

^^ ” focused and zoomed” should say

Lodhi Says:

Where art thou skeezer ?

Okiegal Says:

@Wog Boy……That’s how you did it……the cameras don’t miss a thing. One time at the French Open the cameras zoomed in on Rafa’s box and it caught his sister slapping her mother back and forth across her face. Her mom leaned over to say something to her and that is when she did the slapping thing. It looked liked she actually touched her face, but probably didn’t. I am sure it was not a hard slap but it was funny!! The cameras do a great job with the crowd hunting for cutesy things so the world can see it up close and personal.

Daniel Says:

Olympic Village is notoriois for being like Sodoma and Gomorra. Too many tuoung athletic people together. Some athletes lnows they have no chamce at medals but the lo e the “olympics” experience. I can only imagine what will be like this year here in Rio with our atmosphere😜

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