Dudi Sela/ Courtesy of the Israeli Tennis Association .
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Dudi Sela’s first-ever visit to Qatar didn’t last long, with Israel’s No. 1 tennis player being knocked out in the first round in Doha on Monday.
The 32-year-old Israeli, ranked No. 67 in the world, who was participating in an ATP Tour event in the Arabian Peninsula for the first time, took the first set against Spain’s Fernando Verdasco (35), but would ultimately drop to a 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 defeat.
Sela usually starts his season in India or Australia, but decided that he wanted to begin his 2018 campaign with the new experience of playing a tournament in the Gulf.
One of the main reasons behind Sela’s decision to take part in the $1,286,675 event is the fact that it is run by his good friend, Moroccan Karim Alami, a former player who retired in 2002.
Following the defeat, Sela will make his way to Australia as he continues his preparations for the first Grand Slam tournament of the year, which gets under way in Melbourne on January 15.
Meanwhile, world number one Rafa Nadal, who is struggling to get any match practice before the Australian Open, plans to play an exhibition event at Melbourne Park in the week leading up to the season opening Grand Slam,.
The 31-year-old Spaniard has not played since he withdrew from the season-ending World Tour Finals in London in November with a knee injury.
He had already withdrawn from an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi, this week’s Brisbane International and another event in Sydney, citing a lack of time to properly prepare.
However, the 16-times Grand Slam winner will be part of the winner-takes all Tie Break Tens event at Melbourne Park on January 10, five days before the Australian Open begins.
“Tie Break Tens is a great concept and we will see and play some exciting matches,” Nadal said in a statement.
“The field is fantastic and I expect some tough competition which will be great for the Aussie fans.”
The eight-man field includes Novak Djokovic, three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka, Australia’s Nick Kyrgios, and former world number one Lleyton Hewitt.
Each match is comprised solely of super tie breaks to 10 points. The knockout tournament provides a winner take-all purse of $250,000.