• Murray out in Abu Dhabi, Federer turns down late role

    12/28/12 4:10 AM | Johan Lindahl
    Murray out in Abu Dhabi, Federer turns down late role The ill-starred exhibition in Abu Dhabi is quickly turning into a damp squib, with the absence of Rafael Nadal followed by the opening-match exit of Andy Murray.

    Now only a win by world No. 1 Novak Djokovic might save some face for organizers, who must try to make do with an uninspiring supporting cast including Nicolas Almagro, David Ferrer and the like.

    Even Davis Cup hero Tomas Berdych won't be around after losing his first match of the season; Murray went down to Serb Janko Tipsarevic 6-3 6-4 and now will concentrate on more serious business as he tries to make up ground at the Brisbane ATP event next week.

    "I'm looking forward to training very hard and playing some of my best tennis next year," said the US Open and Olympic winner, who only flew to the Gulf on Christmas day. Added Tipsarevic: "I am happy with my game. I know it’s an exhibition match but it’s not every day you get to play a Grand Slam champion and an Olympic gold medal winner."

    Reports indicate that exho organizers, who had ignored former champion Roger Federer for a place in the field originally as he was not a "winner," went to the Swiss cap in hand to ask him to play in place of Nadal, who pulled out at the last minute claiming a stomach virus.

    But they got the answer they deserved as Federer turned them down. The event is managed by IMG, which Federer left last summer. Nadal also quit the firm in recent days and will have his career handled by his father and his longtime manager Carlos Costa.

    Federer is preparing as usual for the Australian Open at his Dubai base. "We spoke to a number of players for sure. And I will also say we spoke with Roger to come and play," said an exho official. "Roger plans his schedule far in advance. He has just come off of a very intensive tour of South America and he's training as he always does for the Australian Open. But that training has only just begun and he's not ready to play."

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What a fiasco.

ed251137 , 12/28/12 9:18 AM

When did Fed win at Abu Dhabi? What's this 'former champion' all about?? If he's not a winner at this event, then why's he the former champion? Pls don't contradict yourself!

While they're looking for replacement for Rafa, it's only natural to include Fed among those they approach, there's nothing wrong with that. Tickets were already sold so Fed comes or not, it doesn't matter as he's originally not on the list.

luckystar , 12/28/12 10:32 AM

Roger is not a former champion in AD which is why he wasn't invited in the first place, as they only wanted former champions and 'up and coming' players.

nadline , 12/28/12 11:01 AM

I was wondering which category players like Ferrer, Tipsa and Almagro fall in...'former champion' or 'up and coming' players...any guess? Fair they dont want Roger...but they shouldn't have come up with a public statement with the theme of the tournament...the organizers of Abu Dhabi are clearly contradicting themselves...

netcord , 12/28/12 4:14 PM

AD knew Fed was leaving IMG and therefore knew that he'd likely decline AD. So they decided to make it look like they didn't want him in the first place to save face.

It had nothing to do with past champs or up and comers.


Conspirator , 12/28/12 4:32 PM

Fed did the right thing, refuse to play and/or help out the tournament which insulted him stating 'he's not a winner'. Yeah, it's not like they got more winners. Nadal, Djoker and Murray combined have won 17GS, which is Fed's singular achievement. Fed's made a lot more dough in SA, got a lot more publicity in that part of the world and acquired more fans. He must be laughing big time at Abu Dhabi much more than he's ever done.

scoretracker , 12/30/12 1:10 AM

Can't blame the guy. I'd have told them no way also.

cherylmurray , 12/30/12 2:22 AM

Rafa was sorely missed. It was painful seeing all the bill boards with his picture on them all over the place. I could have got autographs from all the players but declined, it was like rubbing salt in the wound. Muzzans, I touched Murray for you. I went up to Ferrer and said ' Best Wishes to Rafa', he said, 'Thank You'. Didn't have time to say, I said 'RAFA'. Lol

Nico almost lived up to deputising for Rafa, I was wishing for a fairy tale end for him to take the title. The final was very close, but I knew deep down that Nole would win in the end. At least Rafa's sub made the final. When the final finished, I felt that better about Rafa not being there, that I preferred him not playing to being beaten by Nole again, after all, if that had happened. Every cloud has a silver lining.

Maybe Roger was asking for too much appearance fee.

nadline , 12/30/12 9:16 AM

Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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