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Federer opens play Tuesday against Indian wild card Somdev Dewarman, while Djokovic takes on unseeded Michael Llodra of France on the same day.

Other top players at the tournament includes Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic _ who beat Federer in the Wimbledon quarterfinals last year _ and 10th-ranked Mikhail Youzhny of Russia.

Neither Federer nor Djokovic wanted to speculate about a potential rematch in the final in Dubai, although both said they intend to challenge Nadal for the No. 1 ranking this year.

“Rankings are volatile in tennis we know that,” Federer said. “If I can keep this level of play which I’ve had for the past six months, I have a chance to get back to No. 1. But then again Novak has something to say, Murray, (Robin) Soderling, Rafa all the guys at the top.”

Djokovic, who has risen as high as No. 2, said he knows he needs a several more big titles before he can unseat Nadal.

“It’s not only winning one Grand Slam that secures you the No. 1 spot in the world,” Djokovic said. “Federer and Nadal obviously are the two best players, who are so consistent and they keep on winning Grand Slams. I know if I want a shot at that place, I will have to keep on winning major events.”