DUBAI // Andy Murray's decision to pull out of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships has come as a big disappointment for the organisers, but they are confident of an exciting tournament with Roger Federer returning after two years away.
Murray, who lost the Australian Open final to Novak Djokovic and was beaten by Marcos Baghdatis in Rotterdam last week, pulled out yesterday, citing a wrist injury.
"Andy would like to apologise to both the tournament and its fans," a statement on his website said. The Briton, who is ranked No 5 in the world, faced criticism in Dubai last year after saying that he was using the tournament to experiment with his game.
In a first-round defeat to Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic, he kept charging the net at virtually every point and tried some impossible shots.
"Yes it is disappointing, but then not so much," said Salah Tahlak, the tournament director. "Last year he was here and he was not well.
"As a tournament, we do invest a lot of money in the promotion of the tournament, for both the men and women. We spend a lot of money, including on the banners that you see all around the stadium. It is all done for the players.
"So yes it is disappointing for the tournament and the fans as well. They buy tickets to come and watch these players.
"A lot of people come to watch, say, Roger Federer. Many of them will come to watch Novak Djokovic. Similarly a lot of people must have bought tickets to watch Andy. There is a big British expatriate community here so they will surely be upset and disappointed.
"It is easy for them to just say they have some injury and pull out. But for the tournament and the fans, there is a lot of disappointment.
"Anyway, we have other top players. We have Federer [the world No 1] and Djokovic [the world No 3], and we have a lot of other top players.
"So we are looking forward to an exciting tournament, especially with Federer returning
"He missed the last two years, so it will be great to have him back. He won here for three years in a row. I am sure he will also be looking forward to getting his title back."