When Roger Federer retires perhaps he should consider going into the diplomatic service. The Swiss, who owns property not far away from the site of the Dubai Duty Free Championships, met Tunisia's Malek Jaziri, the best player in the Arab world, in the first round here. Not even the tournament organisers could have scripted a better result as Federer won 5-7, 6-0, 6-2.
Jaziri, the world No 128, reached 69 in the rankings last summer. His talent was clear when he was the cornerstone of the Tunisian team that pushed Britain hard in a Davis Cup tie in 2011. However, he has been injured and was wearing a knee brace for his first match in four months.
In the first set, however, it was Federer who struggled. Serving at 5-5 and 15-30, Federer double-faulted and then put a backhand in the net. Federer looked much better in the second set, which he won in just 23 minutes, and from 2-2 in the decider he lost only three more points.
Novak Djokovic plays his first singles match today against Viktor Troicki. Yesterday he played doubles with his younger brother Marko, who is the world No 662. They lost 6-4, 3-6, 4-10 to Dick Norman and Nikolay Davydenko.
Britain's Heather Watson has climbed to 39 in the world rankings, while Laura Robson remains at 43.