Novak Djokovic says he will be coming up against a player with nothing to lose when he faces Malek Jaziri.
Following Australian Open victory, the world No 1 return to action at the Aviation Club Tennis Centre for the Dubai Championships.
In the opening game, the Serb will face Jaziri.
“We are good friends,” Djokovic said of Jaziri. “He's a very nice guy, very talented. Obviously these kinds of match-ups, he doesn't have much to lose. That's why I take it very seriously. I will try to prepare for it in the best possible way.”
For Jaziri, he is under no illusions at the size of the task on his hands.
“You have to smile,” said Jaziri. “Everything starts with a smile: you smile at life, life will smile at you. It is a great opportunity for me to play Novak, I don’t look at it in a bad way. I know it will be a tough match.
“I am reconstructing my game because last season I was injured a lot, so I am thankful to Dubai Duty-Free for the wildcard. I am happy to be back in Dubai to compete at this high level. The match will for sure be tough.
“He is full of confidence; he is playing his best tennis. I am not playing at my best, but I am playing much better every week. Hopefully, I can have a good tournament.”