Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic have withdrawn from the 10th Edition of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship (MWTC) and will be replaced by South African Kevin Anderson and Russian Andrey Rublev respectively. Wawrinka and Raonic confirmed that they are not yet ready to complete following their respective time away from the game.
Wawrinka said, “Unfortunately I won’t be able to play in Abu Dhabi this year as I’m not ready yet to compete at this level. Together with my team, I’m working hard and we will do everything to be ready in time for the Australian Open. I’m sad that I won’t be able to play in front of the great fans at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship but I need to be patient and give my body the time it needs. I wish everyone a great event and hope to be back in Abu Dhabi in 2018.”
Replacing Wawrinka will be recent US Open finalist Kevin Anderson who will be in action on day one taking on world number 10 Pablo Carreño Busta in a repeat of their recent US Open semi-final, with the winner playing defending champion Rafael Nadal on day two for a place in the final.
Raonic will be replaced by Russian Andrey Rublev who will play world number five Dominic Thiem with the winner playing Novak Djokovic in the semi-final on day two of the Championship.
Earlier this year, Kevin Anderson reached his first Grand Slam final at the US Open where he lost to Rafael Nadal. The 6-foot-8 big-serving right-hander came back from a set down to beat fellow MWTC participant Carreño Busta to secure a place in the final. In the process, the 31-year-old became the first South African to reach the US Open final, as well as becoming the tallest Grand Slam finalist, both in the Open era.
Commenting on his second appearance at the MWTC, Anderson, said, “I am looking forward to playing in Abu Dhabi and getting ready for the new season and the year’s first Grand Slam. The competition is going to be intense and I’m looking to pick up on where I left off last year.”
Nicknamed Rubi, Russian Andrey Rublev has had an impressive season recording his first top 10 victory when he beat eventual ATP World Tour Final Champion Grigor Dimitrov in the second round of this year’s US Open where he reached the quarter-finals. The Moscow native has improved his year-end ranking in four straight seasons from 2014-17 and advanced to final of the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals, as well as capturing his first ATP singles title at the Croatian Open.
Playing for the first time in Abu Dhabi, the 20-year-old Rublev said, “I am happy to be invited to an event of this level and it is a great honor for me. I will do my best to show my top game and I am looking forward to meeting the local audience.”