Andy Murray routs Rafael Nadal 6-2 6-0 at the Mubadala exhibition tournament
The semifinal in Abu Dhabi marked Nadal's comeback from appendix surgery
The 14-time grand slam winner also suffered back and wrist injuries in 2014
Murray meets Novak Djokovic in Saturday's final after the Serb beat Stan Wawrinka
With all the health setbacks he has endured, Rafael Nadal is used to comebacks.
He made another one Friday at the exhibition Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi but it didn’t last long, as the 14-time grand slam champion was crushed by Andy Murray 6-2 6-0 in the semifinals.
While Nadal most certainly would have wanted to put up a better showing, he’ll probably just be happy – for the moment – that he has physically recovered from the appendix surgery that forced him to skip the year-end ATP World Tour Finals in London last November.
He’ll have a little over two weeks to find his game before the start of the year’s first grand slam, the Australian Open, and he vows to make progress.
Next week the Spaniard – who suffered a back injury in last year’s Australian Open final and skipped last year’s U.S. Open with a wrist complaint – competes at the Qatar Open in nearby Doha.
“There are only small things I need to adjust,” Nadal, who has competed in just three ATP tournaments since Wimbledon, was quoted as saying by the Gulf News.
“6-2 6-0 is too much – I had a lot of chances to have a closer result,” he added. “I have to improve, that’s obvious, and I’m going to improve. This match helps me and the defeat does not affect me too much.
“I felt I was dominating the points a lot of times, but I am missing competitive spirit. I am going to keep working hard.”
Murray, too, knows what it’s like to return from injuries.
The two-time grand slam winner from Scotland underwent back surgery late in 2013 and never really found his form in 2014, achieving one grand slam semifinal.
His body is feeling better, though.
The off-season has certainly been eventful for Murray. He cut ties with his co-coach and good friend Dani Vallverdu and longtime fitness trainer Jez Green. In happier news, however, he announced his engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears.
Murray faces a rematch with world No. 1 Novak Djokovic – Murray’s pal and victim in both of his successes in grand slam finals – on Saturday.
Djokovic ousted Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka 6-1 6-2 in the other semifinal. It was Wawrinka who upended the Serb en route to the Australian Open title in 2014, breaking up the dominance of the Big Four.