Dubai – Andy Murray leads a trio of Grand Slam champions into the Dubai Tennis Championships, their first matches since the Australian Open, with the Scot now fully fit after a bout of shingles.
The world No 1 revealed on Sunday that he had consulted doctors in London earlier this month about the painful skin condition upon his return following a fourth-round Melbourne loss to Mischa Zverev.
“I’m fine now, I’ve been training flat-out for the past few weeks,” Murray said in Dubai after light rain interrupted preparations for the tournament starting on Monday.
“I had to go easy for a little while. I didn’t notice anything anyway until I got back from Australia.”
Murray, 29, the top seed, begins his campaign in the Gulf against Tunisian Malek Jaziri in the first round. Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland is seeded second with compatriot and seven-time champion Roger Federer third.
“I know him fairly well but I’ve never trained with him, he’s very talented with big forehand,” Murray said of Jaziri.
Murray, losing finalist to Federer five years ago here, is competing in the emirate for the first time since 2015, when he lost a quarter-final to Borna Coric.
Defending champion Wawrinka is on the way back from injury which kept him from the Rotterdam indoor event earlier this month. Federer will be testing himself with back-to-back matches after his historic Australian Open title.
“This is a little bit of the unknown,” the 35-year-old Swiss said. “I’ve said it’s going to take me until April to know exactly where I stand and see if I feel my best.
“I’m still a work in progress, let’s see how my body will react. My recent weeks in the Swiss Alps means I’m fresh again.”
Wawrinka takes on Damir Dzumhur while Federer opens against Frenchman Benoit Paire, whom he has defeated three times but last played four years ago.
France’s Gael Monfils will make the quick-change from Marseille indoors to take part as fourth seed, ahead of Czech Tomas Berdych and Spain’s sixth seed Roberto Bautista Agut, crowned Chennai champion in January.