The 2014 season begins right where 2013 left off – with high-paying exo dough being paid to the game’s brightest stars. Yes, the rich do get richer. Those taking advantage of this special yearly Christmas bonus in Abu Dhabi include the last three Grand Slams champions – Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.
David Ferrer, Stan Wawrinka and JW Tsonga are also on hand in a supporting role, but to me the only real intrigue in Abu Dhabi is who actually got paid more, Nadal or Djokovic (I’ll guess Nadal by about $750K) and how Murray will hold up in his first matches since September.
Djokovic’s new coach Boris Becker is also there, but unless he says something of note (a good chance, right?) the matches themselves amount to “practice sets”.
But back to Murray.
Andy’s been practicing for about a month now following his back surgery. Assuming the back is OK, Andy will likely downplay his chances for the early part of the season, but if he hits the ball well this week then hopefully by Melbourne he’ll be back to his winning self. It’s wishful thinking after so much time off, I know.
As for the others, I’ll have a more detailed preview of the season ahead with my Top 10 picks this weekend.
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Rafael Nadal, Girlfriend Xisca En Route to Abu Dhabi [Video]