x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Mubadala World Tennis Championship draw released

The official draw for the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi at the end of December was released on Wednesday, with Rafael Nadal v Novak Djokovic headlining.

Rafael Nadal, the world No 1, and Novak Djokovic, No 2, are the top two seeds for the Mubadala World Tennis Championship at Zayed Sports City from December 26-28. Photo Courtesy Mubadala World Tennis Championship
Rafael Nadal, the world No 1, and Novak Djokovic, No 2, are the top two seeds for the Mubadala World Tennis Championship at Zayed Sports City from December 26-28. Photo Courtesy Mubadala World Tennis Championship

ABU DHABI // The story of the second half of the 2013 season was the competition between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic for the No 1 ranking, and organisers of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship are hoping that UAE fans will get to see the next instalment of their rivalry next month.

The pair are the top seeds for the sixth staging of the tournament at the Abu Dhabi International Tennis Complex in Zayed Sport City, which runs between December 26-28.

Nadal and Djokovic have never played in Abu Dhabi before, and if that is to change this year it will be in the final, with the two in separate halves of the draw.

Nadal returned from seven months out with injury to win 10 titles, including the French Open and the US Open, and he defeated Djokovic on his way to winning both majors.

Nadal’s run to the final of the ATP Tour finals in London last week, where he lost in the final to Djokovic, secured him the world No 1 spot going into 2014 and he said that Abu Dhabi would be the ideal way to launch his 2014 season.

“This season has been one of my greatest achievements,” the Spaniard said.

“Coming back from injury to win two grand slams, regaining the world No 1 spot and finishing the season there has been incredible. Now it’s time to relax and prepare for the new season. I love playing in Abu Dhabi as it gives me the chance to test myself again after the off season.

“I’ve won there twice and I am definitely hoping to make it lucky number three this year.”

Nadal and Djokovic are the two most successful players in the event’s history, with both having won it twice in the past.

Djokovic, who has never lost at Zayed Sport City, has won the past two years, while Nadal, who reached the final in the 2009 event, won the 2010 and 2011 tournaments.

Both men have byes for the first day of action on December 26, with the main focus being on Andy Murray, the Wimbledon champion, who won the first staging of the event in 2009.

The Briton, who missed the closing months of the season to have a back operation, is scheduled to return to action in Abu Dhabi and will take on France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the first round.

The other first round match sees David Ferrer, the runner-up two years ago, go up against Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka, who is making his first appearance in Abu Dhabi since 2010.

On December 27, Djokovic will take on the winner of Murray and Tsonga, while the victors of the Ferrer and Wawrinka encounter will find themselves going up against Nadal.

In a change from previous formats of the event, there will be three matches on the middle day of the event, with a play-off match for fifth place for the two beaten players in the first round ensuring that all six men will play at least twice in Abu Dhabi.

The final day of the event will see the third place play-off held before the final.

Tickets are available from Virgin Megastore, go online at www.ticketmaster.ae, or by calling 800 86 823. The prices start from Dh50 for children and Dh100 for adults.

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