Novak Djokovic began his 2017 season much like he finished 2016, starting slow. Opening his Doha title defense, Djokovic found himself promptly down 2-5 to German Jan-Lennard Struff before recovering for a 7-6(1), 6-3.
“It’s first match of the year. You never know how you’re going to start,” said Djokovic. “As well as you have trained in the preparation period and the days prior to the tournament, really is different when it’s competitive play, when you start the official match and the crowd is there.
“It changes things mentally. I was a bit flat on my feet… But I stayed composed because I knew, I believed that I could find the rhythm, start reading his serve better, and that’s what happened. Certainly I can play better, but it’s first match of the year. I know that I can’t be at my top the very first match, but I believe that the process is right.”
Djokovic is out to chase down Andy Murray who was in doubles action. The Scot, though, fell flat with partner Mariusz Fyrstenberg losing to David Marrero and Nenad Zimonjic 6-2, 6-4.
Murray opens singles play tomorrow against Jeremy Chardy. Murray won Doha in 2009 beating Andy Roddick and 2008 when he defeated Stan Wawrinka.
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