Andy Murray was beaten by Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut as he made his comeback from injury in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
The Briton was only intending to practice this week, but stepped in as a late replacement for Novak Djokovic to take part in the one-set exhibition match at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship.
Djokovic withdrew after suffering an injury setback, delaying his own long-awaited comeback.
On the advice of his medical team, @DjokerNole has had to withdraw from the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. 3-time Grand Slam Champion @andy_murray has agreed to play an exhibition match against @BautistaAgut at 7 pm! We wish Novak a speedy recovery. pic.twitter.com/4HiJ0sDahA
— MWTC (@MubadalaTennis) 29 December 2017
Murray looked rusty as he returned to competitive action against his Spanish opponent, and lost four straight games before finally holding serve.
Bautista-Agut went on to win the match 6-2.
Murray was forced to end his 2017 season early because of his hip trouble and has not played competitively since Wimbledon.
“When you haven’t competed for a long time it takes time to get back up to that pace. I started to feel a bit better at the end,” The Scot told Eurosport.
“I’ll need to keep improving, for sure. It was good fun. I’ve missed it.”