Andy Murray joins Emma Raducanu at Abu Dhabi event and could face Rafael Nadal
Andy Murray and Ash Barty pay tribute to each other
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Andy Murray will join Emma Raducanu in flying the UK flag at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships in Abu Dhabi next month. By travelling for the exhibition tournament, the Scot could be one of the first to face Rafael Nadal in his comeback appearance after time off with a foot injury.
Murray has fond memories of this competition, having won it in its debut year before following up that success with another in 2015.
He joins Nadal in the men’s draw, who has played in only one tournament since a shock loss at Roland Garros in June, after which he announced his season was over.
The Spaniard has spent the last few months recovering after a long time of playing with foot pain, and is now going to be warming up for January’s Australian Open.
Other big names in the men’s draw include the likes of 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem, Denis Shapovalov, Casper Ruud and Andrey Rublev.
Joining Murray as a British hopeful is Raducanu, who was invited this year to play in the event for the first time.
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She will play a one-off match against Olympic champion Belinda Bencic – who the teenager beat en-route to her shock US Open success in September.
“I’ve got many happy memories of Abu Dhabi and I’m looking forward to returning,” Murray said after his participation was confirmed.
“With Emma also playing on day one, we will be flying the flag for British tennis and looking to put on a strong display.”
Murray has struggled to make much of an impact on the tour since undergoing hip surgery in early 2019, but finished the current season strongly.
He reached his second quarter-final of the season in his final outing, and thoroughly impressed on the way to that stage of the Stockholm Open.
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The Scot made light work of Viktor Durasovic in his opening match, before coming up against top seed Jannik Sinner.
But the world number 10 was no match for Murray on the day, as he produced what was probably his best win since surgery by dispatching the Italian in straight sets.
He then fought bravely battled against Tommy Paul in the last eight, but was eventually beaten in the deciding set and the American went on to win the title.
It was a positive way to end a campaign which looked to be flickering into life in the final weeks, and the Briton will hope to continue that momentum in the New Year.
By then he may have also permanently employed Esteban Carril as his coach, having enjoyed what seemed like a successful trial period with the Spaniard in Stockholm.
Meanwhile, Raducanu is another who has a new coach in Torben Beltz, having finally decided who would replace Andrew Richardson – the teenager parted company with her compatriot just two weeks after her US Open win.
Her results after that success in New York were uninspiring, most notably the first round loss in the Upper Austria Ladies Linz to the world number 106.
That was a sour note upon which Raducanu ended her season, but a few weeks away from the spotlight training with her new coach could be what is needed to help her to start anew in Abu Dhabi and beyond.
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