Rafael Nadal will make his return to action against either Janko Tipsarevic or Andy Murray at next month's 's Mubadala World Tennis Championship after the draw set up a possible clash of Olympic champions.
Mubadala draw sets up potential Murray-Nadal rematch in Abu Dhabi
The former world No 1, sidelined with a knee injury since Wimbledon, will take on the winner of the opening match of the competition between world number nine Tipsarevic and Murray, the US Open and Olympic champion.
A match against Murray for Nadal would be a repeat of the 2009 final for Murray, who defeated the Spaniard to claim the first title.
The second match on day one of the tournament pairs the players ranked fifth and sixth in the world, David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych, with the winner taking on world number one Novak Djokovic the following day.
Murray, who has a 5-3 record against Tipsarevic on the ATP tour, will get the competition under way when he turns out in Abu Dhabi for the first time since his victory here three years ago, as part of his preparation for the Australian Open in January.
"It'll be a tough first match but I'm delighted to open the Mubadala World Tennis Championship against Janko and I hope the tournament will be the perfect preparation for the Australian Open," he said.
"It's been a fantastic year, with my first grand slam win at the US Open and a gold medal at the Olympics but, after a few weeks' rest, I'm looking forward to getting the new season off to a winning start."
Murray and Mubadala debutant Tipsarevic will open the competition at 5pm on December 27 at Zayed Sport City's international tennis complex, with Ferrer's clash with Berdych - a rematch of their weekend encounter in the Davis Cup, following straight afterwards.
Day two will see Djokovic face the winner of that match from 3pm, with Nadal facing the winner of the opener immediately after that. A third-place play-off will be held on the Saturday, immediately before the final at 5pm.
Tickets are available for the competition starting at Dh300.
Meanwhile, Nadal returned to the training court for the first time since the latest in a series of knee injuries forced his withdrawal from the US Open at the end of August.
The 11-time grand slam singles champion, who has not competed since being stunned by Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic in the second round at Wimbledon in June, completed a session under the supervision of his coach and uncle Toni Nadal at an indoor facility in his home town of Manacor on the island of Majorca.
“Today was my first training session after so many weeks out,” the world No 4 said on his Facebook page. “I am making progress and I hope to continue to do so.”
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