After winning the tournament in 2009 and 2015, Andy Murray was denied a third title on Saturday night as the Scotsman was defeated by Andrey Rublev.
The 24-year-old Russian prevailed 6-4 7-6 on Saturday evening to cap off a superb 2021 that has seen him rise to fifth in the world.
Murray's defeat follows wins over British compatriot Dan Evans and 20-time grand slam winner Rafael Nadal in the previous rounds, and despite losing in the final, he wasn't too disheartened at his loss.
The 34-year-old Scot, who has recently recovered from two major hip operations, instead took positives from his performance across the entire week.
"It was a good week for me. It was good to see where my body's at playing three days in a row at that sort of intensity and I learned quite a lot across the three matches.
"Certainly some things improved as the week went on and there were a few things that maybe in the other matches I got away with. Certainly some things for me to work on but overall it was good."
Murray started well on Saturday evening, and could've claimed the first set but for a crucial break in the fifth game that handed Rublev the advantage.
It's a promising start for Murray under new head coach Jan De Witt, who replaced long-time advisor Jamie Delgado last week.
The second set started much worse for Murray, who dropped his serve, but was given an unlikely route back into contention when Rublev double faulted three times in the eighth game.
From 4-2 behind, Murray took a shock 5-4 lead. However, the Russian quickly set things straight, holding his serves before going on to win a one-sided tiebreak.
After the loss, Murray spoke about his future, stating he felt more clarity about how he intends to play moving forward.
"I'm a lot clearer in my mind about how I want to play and the way I'm going to go about my matches in the next year. Decision-making comes from having a clear mind about the way you want to play.
"Right now, I'm quite sure on that. I believe that will help me at the important moments, something that I was very strong at was making good decisions in important moments and I played well on big points and raised my game.
"Providing I'm clear on how I want to play, I'll be able to do that again."
Following the Abu Dhabi exhibition, Murray will now head back to the UK before the start of the Australian Open on January 17.