Federer, Nadal gear up for opening matches today
TENNIS greats Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are pinning lots of hope on their performances in the Qatar ExxonMobil Open with both set to start their first-round matches at the Khalifa Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha on Tuesday. While the Swiss star Federer, defending champion and the world no 3, has drawn a tough opening match against the 2010 Qatar Open champion Nikolay Davydenko of Russia, Nadal of Spain and the world no 2, will be playing Germany’s Philip Kohlschreiber in his inaugural outing. Qatar ExxonMobil being the new year’s opening season tournament, even the players of the calibre of Federer and Nadal want the start to be fortuitous. “Obviously, I’d like to start the tournament well here so that I can have a good start in this new season. But regardless of who I play, I’m ready for a good season…I feel energised and ready to go,” said Federer on Monday during a chat with the media. “Even though the season was long and tough, I had a nice break and great preparation and I’m really eager for another season,” added the Swiss superstar. With the 2012 having additional attraction because of the Olympic Games, all the players would be keen to do well during the year. Federer, however, said he was concentrating on the Doha tournament at the moment. “You have to go step by step. Right now the focus is on Doha…my first round. It’s a tough one against Davydenko. Then I do hope I can move on and defend my title here and then go to Australia and make my move over there”. Nadal doesn’t appear to be so confident and positive. “My game may suffer in the short- term after making the switch to a new racket but would improve in the months ahead. My preparation is not the perfect one, and I’m trying to play with a little bit heavier racket, to get a little bit more power,” Nadal told the press.