After six odds weeks of gruelling boredom in the off-season, tennis fans can rejoice, as 2015 will officially kick off with the traditional Mubadala World Tennis Championships from Abu Dhabi. The tournament features some of the ATP World Tour’s top stars, all of whom want to begin their respective seasons with some early momentum.
Up first in the opening round of the tournament is a match-up between Andy Murray and Feliciano Lopez. The British No. 1 remains undefeated with a 9-0 record in the head-to-head series.
Following a particularly difficult first half of the year with little to show for it, world No. 6 Andy Murray appeared to have gotten over his injuries late in the season, after he took part in a cramped six week run on the tour that included title wins in Shenzhen, Valencia and Vienna in order to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Final. That ended in a bludgeoning from Roger Federer – Murray lost 6-0, 6-1 – and closed out his season in disappointing fashion.
However, he appears to have gotten things in order, and has finally had some solid training time with his new coach Amelie Mauresmo.
“We had a lot of good conversations with me and the whole team when I was in Miami. Everyone agreed on the things that I should be doing moving forward in terms of how I’m going to try to approach matches, how I’m going to play the game, how I’m going to play in practice,” Murray told Reem Aulleil of Sports360.
“Because it’s one thing, there’s a certain game style you want to play on the match court but you’re lazy with it in practice, you’re not doing it all the time. If you want to make changes it needs to be consistent, you need to do it all the time through practice and through matches. Everyone I think has bought into that. I don’t want to say exactly all of the things we’ve been working on but I feel like it went very well in Miami and hopefully I can start the year well.”
Once he completes his stay in Abu Dhabi, Murray will head to the Hopman Cup, where he will team up with Heather Watson to represent Great Britain. He will follow up with an appearance in Auckland before final preparation for the Australian Open.
Feliciano Lopez took part in an impressive 2014 season on the professional tour, as he compiled a 39-26 record on the tour with one title to his name. The world No. 14 will look to pick up where he left off with a strong showing against Murray – a competitor he is yet to defeat.
Prediction: Andy Murray in Three Sets