Andy Murray showed positive signs ahead of the new season with a comprehensive win over British rival Dan Evans in Abu Dhabi.
The pair are taking part in the grandly-named Mubadala World Tennis Championship, and Murray looked sharp and moved well in a 6-3 6-2 victory.
Evans was a late replacement and that perhaps explains why he was some way below his best, with the 31-year-old midway through his preparations for the start of the new season next month.
— Mubadala World Tennis Championship (@MubadalaWTC) December 16, 2021
But it was certainly an encouraging display from Murray, who split from long-time coach Jamie Delgado last week and is having a trial period with German Jan De Witt.
Murray said in his on-court interview: “We practise a lot together so we know each other’s games well. We always play a lot of long points, long rallies. Dan’s got skills that very few players on the tour have. It’s a good start.”
He and Evans have never met in a competitive match but Murray won a tight contest at the Battle of the Brits event last December.
🎶 𝗔𝗻𝗱𝘆, 𝗔𝗻𝗱𝘆, 𝗔𝗻𝗱𝘆… 🎶
The Scots in attendance at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship are loving Andy Murray's performance tonight.
— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) December 16, 2021
“He played well,” said Evans. “It wasn’t much fun for me. I did some things well. Not enough. But it was really good to get the chance to be out here in front of a great crowd.”
The Scot will now provide the first opponent for Rafael Nadal when he makes his comeback from a lengthy lay-off with a foot injury on Friday.
“I didn’t know whether I was going to get the opportunity to play matches like that again,” said Murray. “Rafa’s someone that I’ve had some great battles with at some of the biggest tournaments in the world. It’ll be great. Hopefully we can put on a great performance.”