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Murray lifts season's first title as Novak pulls out

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Britain's Andy Murray returns the ball to Spain's Rafael Nadal during the second day of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi

Britain's Andy Murray returns the ball to Spain's Rafael Nadal during the second day of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi

AP

Britain's Andy Murray returns the ball to Spain's Rafael Nadal during the second day of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi

Andy Murray picked up his first trophy of the season without having to play a match after Novak Djokovic withdrew ahead of their scheduled final in Abu Dhabi yesterday because of illness.

The world number one had looked in fine nick in brushing aside Stan Wawrinka in the semi-finals of the exhibition Mubadala World Tennis Championship on Friday. But the defending champion revealed yesterday he was suffering from a fever and handed the title to Murray.

Djokovic's withdrawal denied the Scot the chance to follow his thrashing of Rafael Nadal in the last four with another confidence-boosting win over one of his biggest rivals.

But it may also prove to be a blessing for Murray, who felt pain in his left shoulder during his 6-2 6-0 win over Nadal.

"I don't know exactly what happened," said the 27-year-old. "I've never had anything happen to my left shoulder before. It's pretty sore and at the end of the match when I was reaching out to sign autographs it was quite painful.

"I'm going to have an ultrasound scan to check and see if there's anything there or not then I'll see what happens after that."

Provided the scan does not show anything untoward, Murray will continue his build-up to the Australian Open at the Hopman Cup in Perth this week.

Murray will join Heather Watson to represent Great Britain at the mixed team event, with their opening match due to be against France tomorrow.

Murray took to the court to collect his trophy and confirmed he is planning to play in the Hopman Cup.

"It's unfortunate that Novak wasn't feeling well. It happens. I go over to Australia tonight to play my next event and hopefully I can keep it going."

Nadal secured his first victory of the season by beating Wawrinka 7-6 (7/1) 6-3 to claim third place.

The world number three looked understandably rusty against Murray having not played a match since before undergoing an appendectomy at the start of November.

This was a sharper performance and Nadal will have more opportunities to tune up for the year's first grand slam when he defends his title at the Qatar Open in Doha this week.

Sunday Indo Sport