Doha, 30 Nov 2019
Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland and 2012 champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are among the stars set to kick start their season on the courts of the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2020 to be held from January 6 to 11 in Doha.
In all, 21 players made the entry list for the singles event of the annual ATP World Tour 250 series tournament with three slots allotted for wild card entrants and four for qualifiers while 16 teams are taking part in the doubles event.
Other key players expected to feature at the eventinclude 2013 champion Richard Gasquet, 2018 finalist Andrey Rublev, 2016 Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic and Doha-resident Fernando Verdasco, the 2009 Australian Open semi-finalist and finalist at the 2010 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.
The former World No. 3 Wawrinka, who had a muted season in 2019, is one of the favourites to lift the golden falcon trophy this time around and a good outing in Doha will definitely go a long way in boosting his confidence ahead of the first Grand Slam event of the year, the Australian Open.
The last time the 34-year-old Monaco-resident was here, at the last edition, he lost in the quarter-finals to eventual champion Roberto Bautista Agut. He thereafter suffered defeat in the hands of Raonic in the second round of the Australian Open.
At the Rotterdam Open, Wawrinka reached his first tournament final in over 20 months, where he fell to Gaël Monfils in three sets, and this was followed by a three set defeat to Nick Kyrgios in the quarter-finals of the Mexico Open.
At the 2019 French Open, Wawrinka, the 2008 Beijing Olympics doubles champion, defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in the fourth in an ‘epic’ five setter that lasted 5 hours and 9 minutes (the final scoreline was 7–68–6, 5–7, 6–4, 3–6, 8–6) to advance to his first Grand Slam quarterfinal in two years. However, he was eliminated by Roger Federer, the third seed, in four close sets.
The major highlight of his 2019 season was the upset he scripted against defending champion Novak Djokovic in the Round of 16 of the US Open where he eventually went on to lose the quarterfinal to Daniil Medvedev.
For 2008 Australian Open finalist Tsonga, Doha is a familiar territory having won here seven years ago. The Frenchman, who has had to battle with a string of injuries in recent years, has seen his form in upward swing at the moment. He won titles at Montpellier Open as 210th-ranked wildcard entrant where he defeated Pierre-Hugues Herbert, and the Metz Open. He was also a semi-finalist at Brisbane and he reached the quarters at Rotterdam where he lost to Daniil Medvedev.
Tournament Director Karim Alami said, “In line with our tradition, Qatar ExxonMobil Open is once again attracting some of the best players to Doha for a week-long feast of tennis. We are happy to welcome the players to this sport-loving country again and we believe that this year’s tournament will record another great success, as all arrangements are on track to ensure the fans and players have the best of time. We look forward to hosting everyone at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex.”