Part of complete coverage on
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.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1252 GMT (2052 HKT)
As a player he was as fiery as his hair -- and as Novak Djokovic's coach, Boris Becker says he has to battle to keep his emotions in check.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1102 GMT (1902 HKT)
Tennis great Boris Becker says he was stunned by the level of criticism he received after being appointed as Novak Djokovic's coach.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1101 GMT (1901 HKT)
"I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 0114 GMT (0914 HKT)
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
Rafael Nadal is still the "King of Clay" -- but his crown has slipped a bit, says CNN's Will Edmonds.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 0746 GMT (1546 HKT)
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
May 5, 2014 -- Updated 2359 GMT (0759 HKT)
The Ukrainian-born, British tennis star loses fight against liver cancer, just a few weeks after revealing that she was battling the disease.
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1238 GMT (2038 HKT)
It's no easy matter becoming a world class tennis player. It's even harder when everyone (really -- everyone) is calling you the "new Martina Hingis."
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.