Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic have been ruled out of Abu Dhabi action.
The ninth-ranked Wawrinka has not played a match since Wimbledon last July and has been recovering from double knee surgery.
“Unfortunately I won’t be able to play in Abu Dhabi this year as I’m not ready yet to compete at this level,” said Wawrinka. “Together with my team, I’m working hard and we will do everything to be ready in time for the Australian Open. I’m sad that I won’t be able to play in front of the great fans at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship but I need to be patient and give my body the time it needs. I wish everyone a great event and hope to be back in Abu Dhabi in 2018.”
Raonic has played just six matches since Wimbledon, with his last appearance being a second round retirement in Tokyo in October. He missed the US Open to recover from wrist surgery then suffered a calf strain in Japan.
Rublev, who had a breakthrough 2017 that saw him reach the quarter-finals of the US Open, will replace Raonic in the draw and open his Abu Dhabi campaign against Dominic Thiem (19:00 UAE time) on Thursday, December 28, while Anderson takes Wawrinka’s spot and faces Carreno Busta on the same opening day (17:00 UAE time).
The winner of Anderson-Carreno Busta faces Nadal in the semi-finals on Friday, December 29 (17:00) while the winner of Thiem-Rublev takes on Djokovic at 19:00.
Anderson, who will be making his second Abu Dhabi appearance, said: “I am looking forward to playing in Abu Dhabi and getting ready for the new season and the year’s first Grand Slam. The competition is going to be intense and I’m looking to pick up on where I left off last year.”
Sport360 is offering a competition where a child, aged 6-12, can win a spot as the bag carrier for either Thiem or Rublev on day one of the MWTC, along with two tickets – one of which must be used by the entrant.