The news of Stan Wawrinka pulling out of this year’s 10th edition of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship is unfortunate. Clearly he is not quite ready to return and is airing on the side of caution. I’m sure the fans will be a little disappointed but it does pave the way for the big serving South African,Kevin Anderson.
Kevin is a very solid player and seemingly getting better with age; his run to be the lowest ranked player to reach the US Open final this year was nothing short of remarkable. Anderson slots into the Day 1 line-up to face Carrēno Busta, a re-enactment of their US Open Semi Final. I’m sure Pablo will be looking for some revenge here so fans can look forward to an eagerly contested battle between two in-form players. This could be a real classic!
The second player that is set come in for the injured Milos Raonic has to be one of the most exciting guys on tour right now. It’s the fresh faced Russian, Andrey Rublev. For me Andrey is a future world number one in the making. Good serve, moves well, looks to have the full package and at such a young age is a very exciting prospect indeed. He’ll go for his shots and I’m sure this will be the first of many appearances for Rublev in Abu Dhabi. Rublev will face off against Dominic Thiem on Day 1, now this looks like a cracker! Both on debut at the MTWC this year; I think we could see this matchup late in tournaments for many years to come. Dominic just has the edge over Andrey in terms of his experience so I expect him to come through this one but nothing would surprise me.
It would be an incredible story should Andrey Rublev prevail in his first round match because it would mean a first meeting with Novak Djokovic. I’m excited at the prospect of seeing Kevin and Andrey in Abu Dhabi this year, they are great additions and I’m expecting another exceptional year at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship.