ATP 250 Doha, outdoor hard-courts (1-6 January 2018)
For the fourth time in a row, Novak Djokovic will start the new year in Doha, where he will be back to play an official match for the first time since Wimbledon. The Serbian was involved in a long negotiation with Brisbane, but at the end, he chose Qatari event, for two reasons: Doha offered him an higher appearance fee, and he will play Abu Dhabi exhibition from 28 to 30 December. Djokovic will try to win his third title in Doha after defeating Nadal and Murray in the 2016 and 2017 finals. The 12-time Grand Slam winner is back to practice these days in Belgrade and on Monday he hit with his compatriot Filip Krajinovic, who reached Paris final earlier this month and will play Doha as well. Novak and Filip may play doubles together there.
In Doha, main rivals for Djokovic are supposed to be Dominic Thiem, the 2012 winner Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 2015 finalist Tomas Berdych. There will be four Spaniards: Pablo Carreno Busta, Albert Ramos, Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco, who wasted match points in the semis against Djokovic earlier this year here. Defending finalist Andy Murray won't be there as he chose Brisbane. Thomas Fabbiano is the last player to enter the main draw, Steve Darcis is the first alternate.
ATP 250 Brisbane, outdoor hard-courts (31 December-7 January 2018)
Among all the men's tournaments that are played before Australian Open, Brisbane is probably the most interesting one as it will mark the comeback to competition for many players, starting with Andy Murray who has not been playing since Wimbledon due to a hip injury. Murray already won 2012 and 2013 titles here. The 2016 winner Milos Raonic will try to get far again, as well as last year's finalist Kei Nishikori who at first was unlikely to play in the first month of 2018, but instead, he is making good steps with wrist recovery. The World No. 1 Rafael Nadal will lead the field, he makes his second appearance ever here after that earlier this year he lost to Raonic in the quarters. Just in Brisbane Grigor Dimitrov won the first of his four titles of the year, and ATP Finals' triumph can only give him more confidence. Nick Kyrgios will make his first appearance in five years in Brisbane. Federico Delbonis is the last player to enter the main draw, Steve Darcis is the first alternate.
ATP 250 Pune, outdoor hard-courts (1-6 January 2018)
The Indian event switches city, from Chengdu to Pune, but there are no top seeds compared to the previous year: it will always be Marin Cilic to lead the field. The Croatian player, who won 2009 and 2010 Chennai titles, will try to go far and have a better campaign than 2017 when he lost to Kovalik in the first round. The defending Champion and 2013 finalist Roberto Bautista Agut Will play while defending finalist Daniil Medvedev won't be there. Also the Us Open finalist Kevin Anderson, Robin Haase, Jiri Vesely, Ivo Karlovic, Yen-Hsun Lu entered. It's interesting to note how the fourth-time Chennai winner Stan Wawrinka didn't enter for any event of the first week in 2018. He probably will ask for wildcards to Brisbane or Doha later. In Pune the World No. 102 Blaz Kavcic is the last to make it into the main draw, Pablo Andujar, through protected ranking, is first alternate.