Eleanor Crooks, PA Tennis Correspondent
Andy Murray has pulled out of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships following his run to the Qatar Open final.
The 35-year-old played a series of long matches before losing to Daniil Medvedev on Saturday and has decided not to play this week in Dubai.
The tournament cited a hip injury for Murray’s withdrawal, setting alarm bells ringing given the problems he has had with the joint, but the PA news agency understands there are no major physical issues and the decision is precautionary.
An update on @andy_murray.#DDFTennis #ATP @atptour pic.twitter.com/ztxMwWd55U
— Dubai Tennis Champs (@DDFTennis) February 27, 2023
A statement from the tournament read: “We regret to inform you that Andy Murray is unable to participate in this year’s tournament.
“Andy has been dealing with a recurring hip injury that has unfortunately forced him out of Dubai. We wish Andy a speedy recovery and hope to see him back on the court in Dubai soon.”
Murray defeated Alexander Zverev and Australian Open quarter-finalist Jiri Lehecka in Doha prior to a 6-4 6-4 loss to Medvedev, continuing the encouraging form he showed at the Australian Open and earning him an 18-place rise in the rankings back to the verge of the top 50.
He is next scheduled to play in the first Masters 1000 event of the season in Indian Wells beginning on March 8th.
Dan Evans is now the only British player in the draw in Dubai, while Novak Djokovic plays his first tournament since winning a 22nd grand slam title at the Australian Open.
The Serbian is beginning a 378th week as world number one, surpassing the all-time record held by Steffi Graf.
Djokovic triumphed in Melbourne despite a hamstring injury and, speaking ahead of his return in Dubai, said: “I had almost three weeks with no tennis so these last few days it’s really been about getting as much tennis practice as possible.
“I’m getting closer to 100 per cent – still not there but the important thing is there is no pain. I don’t have a hindrance to the way I move on the court.”
Djokovic will take on Czech Tomas Machac in the first round.