Nikolay Davydenko wants to use the Qatar Open to boost his confidence ahead of the Australian Open.
"This is the first tournament of the year and I am just looking to play well and gain in confidence ahead of the Australian Open," the 25-year-old Russian said.
The Qatar Open starts Monday in Doha, while the Australian Open begins in Melbourne on Jan. 15.
Davydenko, who plays No. 49 South Korea's Lee Hyung-taik in his opening match, has rested after a busy season. That included being part of Russia's victorious Davis Cup team against Argentina in December.
"It was a bit hectic last year, but I feel fresh after the break and am looking forward to the season," Davydenko said.
Defending champion and world No. 1 Roger Federer is absent from the one million-dollar tournament in this Persian Gulf city.
Federer beat Gael Monfils of France 6-3, 7-6 (5) in last year's final. Monfils is playing again but was doubtful he can match his performance.
"The field is very tough, there are too many good players," Monfils said.
That field includes second-seed and world No. 5 Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia. Tommy Haas of Germany was the original third seed but withdrew injured. Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis, who lost to Federer in the Australian Open final, is now seeded third.
Other seeds include Britain's Andy Murray (4), Russia's Mikhail Youzhny (5), Robin Sonderling of Sweden (6), Sebastien Grosjean of France (7) and Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland (8).