With his World No. 1 ATP Ranking on the line, Novak Djokovic faces a tough first assignment of 2022 when he takes on #NextGenATP star Lorenzo Musetti in the first round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in Dubai.
The Serb returns to the ATP Tour this week knowing that Daniil Medvedev will become World No. 1 for the first time if the Russian wins the title at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC in Acapulco.
The talented Musetti gave Djokovic a real scare by taking the first two sets in the pair’s sole previous meeting at Roland Garros last year, but Djokovic is a five-time champion in Dubai and will be confident of performing well again in the desert conditions of the U.A.E.
Djokovic’s half of the draw at the ATP 500 event is littered with in-form rivals. Should he get past Musetti he could play 2018 Rolex Paris Masters champion and Adelaide International 1 finalist Karen Khachanov in the second round, with a semi-final with Rotterdam champion Felix Auger-Aliassime also a possibility.
Second seed Andrey Rublev headlines the bottom half of the draw, and he will look to snap a two-match losing streak against the World No. 28 Daniel Evans in the opening round.
A potential semi-final opponent for the Russian is former World No. 1 Andy Murray, who opens up against a qualifier as he aims to repeat his title run from his last appearance in Dubai in 2017.