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Nadal And Federer Light Up 2012 Season

Doha, Qatar

Nadal© QTF/Paul ZimmerRafael Nadal played tennis with Roger Federer on a candlelit court Sunday in Doha.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal launched the 2012 ATP World Tour season in style on Sunday by playing tennis at sunset in the spectacular Katara amphitheatre in Doha, surrounded by more than 4000 burning Roman candles.

Nadal and Federer kick off their season campaigns at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open, an ATP World Tour 250 tournament, which begins on Monday. Elsewhere, two other ATP World Tour 250 tournaments also mark the start of the 2012 season – the Brisbane International in Australia, and the Aircel Chennai Open in India.

‘It was a very special atmosphere playing in the amphitheatre with all the candles lit up,” said 16-time Grand Slam champion Federer of today’s season launch activity. “It was a mixture of dramatic, romantic and Arabian Nights. It felt very much alive. I really enjoyed it."
 
“Every year we have done something special in Doha and this is a very, very beautiful place,” said World No.2 Nadal.

The Spaniard and Swiss enter the Qatar ExxonMobil Open as the No.1 and No.2 seeds respectively. Celebrating its 20th edition in 2012, the Doha tournament has been won by the likes of Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg (twice), Jim Courier, Marcelo Rios, Andy Murray (twice), and Federer (three times). It is the fourth consecutive year that Federer and Nadal have kicked off the new ATP World Tour season in Doha.

Both Federer and Nadal start the season with their sights set on reclaiming the World No.1 ranking from Serbian Novak Djokovic. Following a record-breaking year in which he won 10 titles, including three Grand Slams, Djokovic enters the 2012 season as the man to beat. World No.4 Andy Murray begins his campaign at the Brisbane International. The Brit, who advanced to the semi-finals or further at all four of the Grand Slams last season, will be looking to capture his first major in 2012.

The world’s Top 4 players will face stiff competition at every turn throughout the season, from the likes of David Ferrer, 2011 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Tomas Berdych, Juan Martin del Potro and Gael Monfils. And plenty of interest will surround the younger generation of players such as Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov, Kei Nishikori, Bernard Tomic and Ryan Harrison who will all look to build on encouraging results from last season.

In doubles, Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan will be looking to add to their record-breaking Grand Slam tally, as well as retain their ATP World Tour No.1 Doubles Team crown. The American twins will face plenty of competition from the likes of Michael Llodra/Nenad Zimonjic, Max Mirnyi/Daniel Nestor and many more.

The 2012 ATP World Tour comprises 62 tournaments in 31 countries, culminating with the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at The O2 in London, featuring only the world’s top eight singles players and doubles teams, from 5-12 November.

Fans can earn the chance to win a trip of a lifetime to attend the 2012 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and meet the champion through an interactive contest and innovative 360 degree high-resolution image of today’s season-launch activity. (Details to follow shortly.)

Additionally, beginning Monday, fans can watch free live streaming of this week’s matches at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open by visiting ATPWorldTour.com/freelivestream (restrictions apply). Here is this week’s television schedule.

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