Doha is always a little confusing stats wise because sometimes it starts at the beginning of a new year but occasionally it straddles the end of one and the start of another year. Rafa won the tournament in 2013, which was actually in 2014, confusing, no? This year we are well into 2016 for the start of Doha with Rafa having already won the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi.
In 2015, Rafa went out in the first round of Doha to Michael Berrer; shades of 2015 to come, but he and his good friend, the forever shirtless (not complaining) Pico Monaco, won the doubles title. Rafa has done well in Doha doubles in the past winning four times (twice with Marc! Lopez) and is partnering with Fernando Verdasco this year.
In the singles draw, Rafa is seeded second so cannot meet Novak till the final (should either of them get that far, of course). His first opponent is Pablo Carreno Busta. They have played each other only once in Rio de Janeiro last year with Rafa winning 7-5 6-3.
Rafa and Verdasco’s first doubles match is Monday. They play Gabashvili/Ramos-Vinolas in the first match of the day.