Tough start to 2014 season for Murray

British number one Andy Murray faces a tough start to the 2014 ATP World Tour season.

Andy Murray

Murray is due to be one of five top-10 players in action in Doha when the action begins next month.

Tournament organisers have confirmed that Murray, currently recovering from back surgery, will be joined by world number one Rafael Nadal at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open, as well as David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych and Richard Gasquet.

With both Nadal and Ferrer currently ranked higher than world number four Murray, the Briton is set to be seeded third at the season-opening event and could therefore meet Nadal in the semi-finals.

The Wimbledon champion's appearance at the Middle East tournament, which starts on December 30, will be his first since 2009. In three previous appearances he has won the title twice and finished runner-up once.

In the past two years he has prepared for the Australian Open by heading straight Down Under to compete in the Brisbane International.

However, despite winning in Brisbane before reaching the final in Melbourne last year, Murray has opted to change his routine as he seeks his first Australian Open title.

He will also play an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi in the days prior to the Doha tournament.

In Murray's absence, Roger Federer will be the headline name on show in Brisbane.

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