ABU DHABI - Croatian Borna Ćorić will make his Mubadala World Tennis Championship (MWTC) debut in Abu Dhabi on Friday evening against reigning champion Andrey Rublev after American Frances Tiafoe was forced to withdraw from the UAE capital’s annual tournament due to injury.

This year’s championship, which runs from 16th-18th December at the International Tennis Centre in Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City, features six of the best male players – including three of the world’s top five – as well as two of the best female players in World No.2 Ons Jabeur and 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu.

Twenty-six year-old Ćorić, who beat fellow MWTC contenders Cameron Norrie and Stefanos Tsitsipas en route to winning the Cincinnati Masters in August, will face Andrey Rublev on the Championship’s opening day, at the International Tennis Centre in Zayed Sports City.

"I'm excited to be making my Mubadala World Tennis Championship debut in Abu Dhabi. I know there are a lot of Croatian sports fans in the region, so it will be great to play in front of them. Playing in the Championship, with such a strong line-up, is the perfect start to my 2023 season," Ćorić said.

En route to winning in Ohio, he recorded five successive victories over top-20 players, including World No.3 Rafael Nadal. He also won both his matches at the Davis Cup Finals last month in Malaga.

“Adding Ćorić to the MWTC roster is extremely exciting. He has just completed a fantastic season and is showing he deserves to be playing among the very best once more. In Abu Dhabi, he will certainly be in a strong field and I'm very much looking forward to watching him take on Rublev on the opening day,” said John Lickrish, CEO, Flash Entertainment. "Even though we are obviously disappointed at Frances’ withdrawal, our players’ health and wellbeing is always our foremost concern and we wish him a speedy recovery.”

“I was really looking forward to playing in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship for the first time but unfortunately, I have to withdraw because of an injury I need to let rest. I’ve heard so many good things about the tournament and was also very excited to visit Abu Dhabi. I’m sorry to all the fans out there that had been looking forward to seeing me play and hope to be there in the future,” Tiafoe said.