Former world No 1 Andy Murray has completed the line-up for next month's Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, organisers confirmed on Tuesday.
The 34-year-old Briton will be making his sixth appearance at the tournament and was its inaugural champion in 2009. He claimed his second title in 2015 and although he was not officially involved in the 2017 event, he stepped in as a replacement for Novak Djokovic to play a one-set exhibition against Roberto Bautista Agut while in the capital for pre-season training.
Murray will be joined at MWTC by defending and five-time champion Rafael Nadal, world No 5 Andrey Rublev, former US Open winner Dominic Thiem, world No 8 Casper Ruud, and 19th-ranked Denis Shapovalov. The one-off women's match will be contested by US Open champion Emma Raducanu and Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic.
“I’ve got many happy memories of Abu Dhabi and I’m looking forward to returning.” said Murray.
“With Emma (Raducanu) also playing on day one, we will be flying the flag for British tennis and looking to put on a strong display.”
This year's tournament, its 13th edition, will once again be held at the International Tennis Centre at Zayed Sports City and takes place on December 16-18. The six-player men's tournament will see the top two seeds receive byes to the semi-finals, with the remaining four players going head-to-head in the quarter-finals. Fifth-place and third-place playoffs will be contested by the losers from each round.
Murray, a three-time Grand Slam champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist, reached the top of the ATP rankings in November 2016 but spent the following three years battling a career-threatening hip injury. After undergoing hip resurfacing surgery and having a metal cap inserted in January 2020, Murray endured numerous setbacks on his road back to the professional circuit, although he did secure his first title in two years at the 2019 European Open in Antwerp.
However, this season has seen a marked improvement in terms of his form and consistency. Murray played 29 matches on the ATP Tour, winning 15 including two wins over top-10 opponents. He also played two tournaments on the Challenger Tour and reached the final in Biella.
“Andy has a special place in Abu Dhabi as the first champion of this tournament back in 2009," said John Lickrish, CEO of Flash Entertainment, the tournament's owners.
"With his return completing our line-up, this year’s field is one of the strongest in the Championship’s history with the perfect blend of youth and experience, Abu Dhabi crowd favourites and exciting debutants. It’s shaping up to be a fantastic three-day festival on and off court.”
Murray's confirmation comes at the same time as the draw and schedule for the tournament were revealed. The first quarter-final on Day 1 will see Norway's Ruud take on Canadian Shapovalov, before Murray faces Austria's Thiem. The opening day will conclude with the women's match between Raducanu of Great Britain and Switzerland's Bencic.
Day 2 will begin with the fifth-place playoff followed by the first semi-final, which will see Russia's Rublev take on the winner of Ruud's match with Shapovalov, before Spanish star Nadal faces either Murray or Thiem. The third and final day will stage the third-place playoff and the final.
In line with the latest government guidelines, MWTC will welcome fans with green status on the Al Hosn app and a negative PCR test result with 96-hour validity across the three days of the tournament. MWTC is also accessible to international visitors after Abu Dhabi’s recent lifting of quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers.
Tickets start from Dh100 for adults and Dh50 for children, and are available from ticketmaster.ae and Virgin Megastores across the UAE. In line with current protocols, measures will be in place within the stadium and throughout the Tennis Village to ensure the health and safety of fans, players and officials.
More details are available on www.mubadalawtc.com