Abu Dhabi: Wimbledon champion and world number four Andy Murray has confirmed he is ready to return to action in Abu Dhabi next week after a long-standing back injury brought his 2013 season to a premature end.
The Scot will play his first match since a Davis Cup appearance for Great Britain in September when he takes on world number ten Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France on the opening day of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship here on December 26.
Murray, who was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year on Sunday night, has been following an intense programme of training and rehabilitation in Miami, Florida, since undergoing minor surgery in September.
He will remain in the US until he flies to Abu Dhabi, where he will be joined by the world’s top three players — Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and David Ferrer — as well as top ten players Stanislas Wawrinka and Tsonga.
Murray will take on the Frenchman in the three-day event’s second quarter-final, with the winner set to meet reigning champion Novak Djokovic, who has a bye to the last-four, the following day.
“I’ve been training and having rehab everyday and will continue to do so right up until just before Christmas, when I fly to Abu Dhabi. Getting back to playing competitively is the next step in my preparations for the new season, which starts for me at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship,” Murray said.
“Coming back from injury is never easy and the line-up this year is so strong, but it’s exactly the test I need to see where my game is at. I’m looking forward to being part of what is always a great tournament.”
Prior to his injury, 2013 was a historic season for Murray as he became the first British male to win the singles title at Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936. The 26-year-old also reached the final at the Australian Open, won his 27th career trophy, and enjoyed a spell as the world number two.
This year will see all three of the Abu Dhabi tournament’s previous champions battling for glory, with current and two-time champion Djokovic, fellow two-time winner Rafael Nadal and Murray himself, who won the inaugural event, all in action across the weekend.
The addition of a fifth/sixth place play-off to the tournament schedule for 2013 means that, for the first time, all six players in the stellar line-up will be in action on the same day — December 27.
The tournament offers a winner-takes-all prize fund of $250,000 (Dh918,173).
The championship takes place from December 26-28 at the Abu Dhabi International Tennis Complex, Zayed Sports City. Tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.ae, selected Virgin Megastores, with prices starting from Dh50 for children and Dh100 for adults. Ticket bookings may also be made by calling 800 TM UAE (800 86 823).