ABU DHABI • World No. 1 Andy Murray is set to be knighted after a remarkable season but his 2016 ended with a surprise loss to David Goffin in the semi-finals of the Mubadala World Tennis Championships.
The Scot, however, shrugged off the 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 defeat by the world No. 11 on Friday.
"I was striking the ball well," Murray told The National newspaper. "It was a pretty high-quality match for the first match in the year after a break so it was good, just a bit unfortunate in the end.
"I find it great preparation for the new year. You're practising and playing matches against some of the best players in the world. So it's a great way to start the year, get into a good rhythm."
His next tournament is at neighbouring Qatar for the opening week of the ATP season - two weeks ahead of the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of 2017.
As he looks forward to the opportunity of winning his maiden title at Melbourne Park, he can also look back on a stellar year.
Murray finished as the year-end world No. 1 for the first time after ending Novak Djokovic's long spell at the top.
He clinched a second Wimbledon title in July before retaining his Olympic singles gold and then winning a first ATP Tour Finals crown to stop Djokovic regaining top spot.
Murray, previously honoured with an OBE in 2012, became a father for the first time in February and last month was voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year for a record third time.
"Obviously it is the highest honour you can get in this country. But I feel like I'm too young for something like that," said the 29-year-old before the announcement was made on Friday that he will receive a knighthood.
"When I win any award or am presented with anything it is nice because it is recognition for what you have given your life to - up to now anyway.
Mo Farah, 33, will also receive his knighthood after he retained his 5,000m and 10,000m titles at the Rio Olympics, becoming the first British track and field athlete to win four Olympic gold medals.
Damehood also awaits the recently-retired heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill.