Andy Murray joins Novak Djokovic in Dubai field as it’s a ‘great opportunity to climb back up rankings’

Shahida Jacobs
Andy Murray
Andy Murray of Britain poses with the trophy after winning the men's singles final match against Fernando Verdasco of Spain at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis ATP Championships

Andy Murray has accepted a wildcard entry for the 2023 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships as he looks to get a few more wins under his belt in order to move up the ATP Rankings.

Former world No 1 Murray has not played since his Australian Open exertions where he spent more than 14 hours on court during his run to the third round.

Murray beat both 13th seed Matteo Berrettini and local hope Thanasi Kokkinakis in five sets in his opening two matches before going down in four sets against Roberto Bautista Agut.

He was due to return to action at next week’s Rotterdam Open, but he pulled out of the ATP 500 event in order to recuperate following his marathon encounters at Melbourne Park.

The three-time Grand Slam winner will now make his singles comeback at the ATP 500 event in Dubai with the tournament starting on February 27. However, he could still add another event before that.

Murray, who won the Dubai title in 2017 when he defeated Fernando Verdasco in the final, also played in the Middle East event last year and lost in the second round against Jannik Sinner.

“Coming back to Dubai brings with it a lot of good memories, not least 2017 and the final with Fernando,” he said.

“My form is improving and my game is getting better, so the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships provides another great opportunity for me to continue to climb back up the rankings.”

Murray has slipped to No 61 in the ATP Rankings, but a few extended runs could see him rise up the rankings again and get close to the magical mark of 32, which would be good enough to be seeded for the Grand Slams.

The field for this year’s Dubai tournament, though, will be a star-studded affair as five-time champion Novak Djokovic, last year’s winner Andrey Rublev, Félix Auger-Aliassime and Daniil Medvedev are all in the field.

Rafael Nadal has also signed up for the ATP 500 event, but he is unlikely to take part as he is still recovering from his latest injury setback.

The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is also the final event, along with the Mexican Open and Chile Open, ahead of the Sunshine Double in the United States. The Indian Wells Open will kick off the ATP Masters 1000 season on March 6 in California and that will be followed by the Miami Open in Florida on March 20.

The ATP Tour then moves to Europe for the clay-court season and Murray is yet to indicate if he will compete on the red dirt this year.

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