Andy Murray loses in return from back injury
December 26, 2013 -- Updated 1810 GMT (0210 HKT)
Andy Murray was beaten in straight sets by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
- Andy Murray falls to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi
- Wimbledon champion Murray loses 7-5 6-3 to the hard-hitting Frenchman
- It was Murray's first match since undergoing back surgery in September
- David Ferrer defeats Stanislas Wawrinka in straight sets in the other match
(CNN) -- Andy Murray's first match since undergoing back surgery in September ended in a straight sets defeat to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi Thursday.
The reigning Wimbledon champion went down 7-5 6-3 to the Frenchman, who himself was plagued by injury at the back end of this year.
Murray, who has dropped to No.4 in the rankings, lacked sharpness after his layoff and was broken in the 12th game of the opening set to fall behind.
The British star has been training at his base in Florida to prepare for the upcoming season and looked set to even the match up when he gained an early break of service in the second set.
Read: Murray to step up comeback
Is Murray ready for the Australian Open?
Andy Murray knocked out of U.S. Open
Andy Murray wins Wimbledon men's final
A workout with David Ferrer
But Tsonga hit back with two breaks of his own to wrap up victory in 72 minutes at the Zayed Sports City complex.
"The courts here are very fast and you have to react quickly," said 26-year-old Murray.
"Jo was sharper than me today, he served very well.
"It's always good fun here. It's great preparation for the season as you have to play against the best in the world."
The organizers of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship have indeed attracted a stellar field with the top two ranked players, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, in the line-up.
Read: Meet Andy Murray's mum
David Ferrer of Spain won the opening match Thursday as he beat Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland 7-5 6-1 to set up a semifinal clash against compatriot Nadal.
Tsonga's win over Murray has earned him a match against Serbia's Djokovic, while Murray will gain much-needed match practice against Wawrinka in the fifth place playoff.
Murray, recently voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year back in the UK, became the first British man to win the Wimbledon title in 77 years when he triumphed at the All England Club back in July, but his season took a turn for the worse as he became troubled by a long-standing back problem.
Part of complete coverage on
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1420 GMT (2220 HKT)
At the 2009 Australian Open, French men's tennis was the talk of the town.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1800 GMT (0200 HKT)
Rafael Nadal may be most at home on a clay tennis court, but he has always found comfort on the sea.
March 21, 2014 -- Updated 1107 GMT (1907 HKT)
Tennis star Venus Williams reveals how she is beating the autoimmune disease that derailed her career.
March 5, 2014 -- Updated 1014 GMT (1814 HKT)
After two decades dedicated to the game, Amelie Mauresmo wants a second life -- one away from tennis.
Almost five years to the day after reducing Roger Federer to tears at the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal shed a few in his own loser's speech.
February 2, 2014 -- Updated 0248 GMT (1048 HKT)
Li Na outperformed Maria Sharapova at the Australian Open, but can she now surpass the Russian as the world's richest female athlete?
Roger Federer may have lost again to Rafael Nadal in the business end of a grand slam, but he can take some heart from yet another record says CNN's Will Edmonds.
January 21, 2014 -- Updated 1358 GMT (2158 HKT)
Roger Federer and Stefan Edberg, Novak Djokovic and Boris Becker -- today's tennis stars are teaming up with past legends of the game.
January 15, 2014 -- Updated 1859 GMT (0259 HKT)
Can't stand the heat of the first tennis grand slam of 2014? Then you clearly haven't been doing enough Bikram yoga.
After nearly a decade without any real change at the top of men's tennis, CNN's Will Edmonds looks at next generation of future stars.
January 9, 2014 -- Updated 1314 GMT (2114 HKT)
Ana Ivanovic is still seeking to rediscover the form that took her to the top of the rankings -- but she has found a new lease of life.
January 6, 2014 -- Updated 1142 GMT (1942 HKT)
As a teen sensation, Bernard Tomic had the tennis world at his feet -- but he's in danger of blowing it, says Australian great Pat Rafter.
Today's five most popular stories