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DOHA: Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer will be among the star names to play at the 2013 Qatar ExxonMobil Open, the Qatar Tennis Federation (QTF) announced yesterday.
Nadal has not played competitevly since his shock second-round defeat against Lukas Rasol at Wimbledon in June, and will be eager to gain match fitness ahead of the Australian Open, which starts on January 14, 2013.
World number five, Ferrer, who was part of the Davis Cup final team, had a strong 2012 season, winning seven titles including the ATP 2012 World Tour Masters in Paris.
The Spaniard also reached the semi-finals of the French Open and US Open.
Apart from the Spaniards, Richard Gasquet and former runner-up Gael Monfils, who lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Roger Federer in 2012 and 2006 respectively have also been confirmed for the six-day event.
QTF Tournament Director, Karim Alami said: “We are incredibly honored to have another year with players of the highest caliber coming to the Qatar ExxonMobil Open. The week in Doha kicks off the ATP World Tour season and these players are looking to hit the courts fresh from their end of season break.”
He added: “Nadal is returning to competitive tennis since his knee injury at Wimbledon so everyone is looking forward to seeing what he brings. Ferrer has had an amazing year with the number of titles he has had and winning his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 in Paris.”
He pointed out: “Gael Monfils is always a fan favorite and it is wonderful to have Richard Gasquet return to the event after a long absence.”
Nadal, 26, had hoped to return for the ATP World Tour Finals event in London earlier this month, but failed to recover in time. He also missed the Davis Cup final against Czech Republic last week.
Nadal who has never won the Doha title, is set to play an exhibition match in December against either Britain’s and reigning US Open champion Andy Murray or Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic in Abu Dhabi.
Doha regulars Nikolay Davydenko, who is a former world number three, Spain’s Feliciano Lopez, Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber and Mikhail Youzhny, who reached the quarter-finals in Wimbledon last season will also compete.
Jeremy Chardy of France and Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko, who are both rising stars in the game, will also be among the 32 players in action.
Rasol, who is ranked 71st in the world, will also be competing in the event that starts on December 31.
Tickets for the ATP event will go on sale from November 29. The tournament will be held at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex.
Meanwhile, world number six Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic and number nine Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia head a strong field for the next edition of the ATP Chennai Open, organisers said yesterday.
The 15th-ranked Marin Cilic of Croatia and number 17 Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland are the other top-20 players taking part from December 31.
Berdych, ended the previous season by winning his opening singles and doubles tie with Radek Stepanek the 3-2 win over Spain in the Davis Cup final.