Nadal poised to return to Mubadala World Tennis
World number one Rafael Nadal will make a long-awaited return to Abu Dhabi next week after missing out on last year’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship.
Sorely missed last year by fans of one of the game’s most charismatic and committed players, the top seed will return to centre court on day two of the tournament, December 27.
After a 2012 season plagued with injury, Nadal spent last season proving the doubters wrong as he made a stunning return to form, taking home a record-breaking eighth French Open title, claiming the scalp of rival Novak Djokovic at the US Open and returning to the world number one ranking in October.
Speaking ahead of the tournament, Rafael Nadal said: “The Mubadala World Tennis Championship has been a very important part of my season preparations since the very first tournament back in January 2009 and I was very disappointed to have missed out on coming last year.
“If you had told me this time one year ago that I would be coming back to Abu Dhabi as world number one, French and US Open Champion I would not have believed it. But right now I’m just focusing on the future and looking forward to kicking off the 2014 season in Abu Dhabi.”
A stalwart of the tournament, Nadal is the only player to have confirmed his attendance in the capital each of the six years of its history and boasts two Mubadala World Tennis Championship titles. Vying for their chance to battle it out against the best player in the world today will be world number three, David Ferrer, and Swiss star Stanislas Wawrinka who will spark a thrilling weekend of tennis at 5pm on December 26.
Should Nadal progress to the final, sports fans in the UAE could be treated to the tennis ultimate grudge match if world number two Djokovic also makes it through his half of the draw. The top duo has enjoyed a fierce rivalry this season which sees their head-to-head record set at three apiece. It will be all to play for in the potential final with each star looking to take home his third Mubadala World Tennis Championship crown.
Nadal added: “Every time I play, I give 100 percent to try and win and it will be no different in Abu Dhabi. I’m certainly hoping it will be third time lucky for me there and I hope all the fans will get behind me like they have done before.”