Abu DHabi

Whether you consider it the last match of the 2021 season or the unofficial start of 2022, the winner is the same: Andrey Rublev is the champion at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships after defeating Andy Murray 6-4, 7-6(2).

The World No. 5 was the top seed at the exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi, and scored victories over Denis Shapovalov and Murray on his way to the trophy. He is the first Russian player to win in the event’s 13-year run.


“It’s my third time here and I’m always enjoying my time here. Quality matches against top players, and good life here. I’m enjoying the resort, in the pool with a cocktail,” Rublev said with a laugh during the trophy presentation. “There’s good weather and quality matches—this is what we’re looking for before the new season. That’s why we’re here.”

In the third place match, Shapovalov defeated a resurgent Rafael Nadal in an all-lefty battle after coming back from a set down 6-7(4), 6-3, [10-6].

The Spaniard was contesting his first matches since shutting down his season during the summer, and although he went 0-2 in Abu Dhabi he called it the ‘positive start’ he was looking for.

“The goal is achieved: to be back on court,” Nadal said. “I played two matches and spent more or less four hours on court. I enjoyed it… I’m going to try to keep going with my road.”