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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 June 2018

All eyes on Novak Djokovic's return to action: Mubadala World Tennis Championship player profiles

Get the career stats on all six players, as well as what the fans can expect during the tournament at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi

Novak Djokovic. Visionhaus / Getty Images
Novak Djokovic. Visionhaus / Getty Images

Ahead of 10th edition of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship on December 28-30, get to know all of the players with this lowdown on their career stats and what to expect at the International Tennis Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Name: Novak Djokovic

Age: 30

Nationality: Serbian

World Ranking: 12

Grand slam titles: 12

Overall ATP titles: 68

Mubadala appearances: 4

Mubadala record: 3 titles (2011, '12, '13)

What to watch for: His return to court. Djokovic endured the most challenging season of his remarkable career in 2017 as injury resulted in a shortened campaign and a natural fall down the rankings. The Serbian has not played competitively since Wimbledon in July, so Mubadala will be the ideal tune-up event ahead of his bid to win a record seventh Australian Open title in January. It would be unfair to expect vintage Djokovic to be out in force in Abu Dhabi given his lengthy lay-off, but he is sure to dazzle fans with his unrivalled range of shot-making. As the top seed, Djokovic has received a bye to the semi-finals.

Dominic Thiem. Geoff Burke / Reuters
Dominic Thiem. Geoff Burke / Reuters

Name: Dominic Thiem

Age: 24

Nationality: Austrian

World ranking: 5

Grand slam titles: 0

Overall ATP titles: 8

Mubadala appearances: Debut

Mubadala record: Debut

What to watch for: Crowd pleasing shot-making. One of the leading young talents on the ATP Tour, Thiem enjoyed another impressive season in 2017 despite only winning one title compared to four in 2016. A rise to No 5 in the rankings is proof of his world-class abilities. Thiem is one of the most eye-catching players in the world with a beautiful single-handed backhand and a propensity to go for winners. Fans inside the International Tennis Stadium should prepare to gasp at the Austrian’s shot-making.

Pablo Carreno Busta. Mike Segar / Reuters
Pablo Carreno Busta. Mike Segar / Reuters

Name: Pablo Carreno Busta

Age: 26

Nationality: Spanish

World ranking: 10

Grand slam titles: 0

Overall ATP titles: 3

Mubadala appearances: Debut

Mubadala record: Debut

What to watch for: Solid all-round play. When discussing impressive 2017 seasons, few were more so than Carreno Busta, who started the year ranked No 30 and ended it inside the top 10. The Spaniard reached his first grand slam semi-final, at the US Open, and collected one title in Estoril. A player with not one weapon, but as consistent as they come; a solid serve, reliable groundstrokes, top fitness and fine court intelligence. Carreno Busta has become a real fan favourite and will surely add to his fan base in Abu Dhabi.

Kevin Anderson reached his first grand slam final in September at the US Open, losing to Rafael Nadal. Adam Hunger / AP Photo
Kevin Anderson reached his first grand slam final in September at the US Open, losing to Rafael Nadal. Adam Hunger / AP Photo

Name: Kevin Anderson

Age: 31

Nationality: South African

World ranking: 14

Grand slam titles: 0

Overall ATP titles: 3

Mubadala appearances: 1

Mubadala record: Sixth place (2016)

What to watch for: Power hitting. Anderson enjoyed arguably the best season of his career in 2017, reaching his first grand slam final at the US Open before losing to Nadal. In January, Anderson was ranked No 80 as he recovered from injury but ended the year at No 14. The South African claimed one title, at Winston-Salem. A fine-striker of the ball, Anderson is definitely the power-hitter of this year’s Mubadala event. He is sure to please the Abu Dhabi crowd with his big serving and crunching forehands.

Andrey Rublev. Courtesy Mubadala World Tennis Championship
Andrey Rublev. Courtesy Mubadala World Tennis Championship

Name: Andrey Rublev

Age: 20

Nationality: Russian

World Ranking: 39

Grand slam titles: 0

Overall ATP titles: 1

Mubadala appearances: Debut

Mubadala record: Debut

What to watch for: A future star in action. Much has been made of tennis’ next generation – or Next Gen as the ATP has marketed it – and Rublev is one of these highly-regarded players. Starting the year ranked No 156, Rublev ends 2017 inside the top 40 and with his first ATP Tour title, the Croatian Open, in his trophy cabinet. Tennis fans in Abu Dhabi will be in for a real treat when Rublev plays. In possession of a powerful forehand and aggressive style, Rublev is sure to excite the fans at Mubadala.

Roberto Bautista Agut6. Ali Haider / EPA
Roberto Bautista Agut6. Ali Haider / EPA

Name: Roberto Bautista Agut

Age: 29

Nationality: Spanish

World ranking: 20

Grand slam titles: 0

Overall ATP titles: 6

Mubadala appearances: Debut

Mubadala record: Debut

What to watch for: Mr Consistency. It will be no easy feat to replace the giant shoes of Rafael Nadal, who announced his withdrawal days before the tournament, but Bautista Agut is a more than capable replacement. Twice a winner on the ATP Tour in 2017 - at Winston-Salem and Chennai - Bautista Agut ended the year inside the top 25 for the fourth consecutive season. A player that loves to mix it up, Bautista Agut most often trades from the back of the court, but is not averse to approaching the net. Not in possession of brute power like an Anderson, but has enough firepower to hold his own. On his day, capable of beating anyone, as he proved against Djokovic in the 2016 Shanghai Masters semi-finals. Don't be surprised if he goes all the way and wins the tournament.