Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev confirmed for Mubadala World Tennis Championship 2019 in Abu Dhabi
The pre-season exhibition tournament at the International Tennis Centre at Zayed Sports City could host a rematch of the recent epic US Open final
Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev could be set to renew their rivalry in Abu Dhabi later this year after both players were confirmed for the Mubadala World Tennis Championship 2019.
World No 2 Nadal has been a regular at MWTC since its launch in January 2009. The Spaniard, 33, is the exhibition tournament's joint-most successful player, having won the title four times – the same as long-time rival Novak Djokovic.
Nadal will head to the International Tennis Centre at Zayed Sports City for the December 19-21 event following another hugely successful season which comprised a record-extending 12th French Open title and fourth US Open title. He is now just one grand slam title behind Roger Federer's record haul of 20.
“I’m really looking forward to be returning to the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. It’s a great event and offers the best preparation for a fast start to the new season," Nadal said.
"Every time I come to Abu Dhabi I feel at home and I’m always treated so well. The spectators are knowledgeable and know how to have fun and I have very good memories playing here."
Medvedev, meanwhile, will be making his MWTC debut after a year in which he established himself as the leading challenger to the established "Big Three" of Nadal, Djokovic and Roger Federer.
The world No 4 has won three titles in 2019, including his first Masters 1000 trophy in Cincinnati and reached his first grand slam final at the US Open where he lost to Nadal in a five-set classic having trailed by two sets.
Medvedev will be seeking some “home support” when he makes his MWTC debut as he looks to go all the way.
“I’ve heard so much about the Championship from my friends and there’s a lot of Russian support in Abu Dhabi. I know it’s also a popular holiday destination for my fellow countrymen so hopefully I can draw on that in my first appearance,” said the 23-year-old Russian.
“I know the line-up will be very strong so it will be a good test of where I am heading into the new season as I look to build on what has been a great year for me so far. I will give my all and put on the best show possible for the spectators. I’m really looking forward to it.”
At the time of the MWTC announcement, no player has won more ATP Tour matches in 2019 than Medvedev (54), who has also reached more finals (8) than any other player.
Nadal and Medvedev met twice before, both in 2019, with Nadal also winning their Rogers Cup final clash in the lead-up to the US Open.
“Rafael and Daniil showed during their US Open final that they really are at the top of their game and that is only a good thing for the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. Spectators are in for thrilling on-court action and great off-court entertainment,” said John Lickrish, chief executive at Flash Entertainment.
MWTC has proved to be a popular tournament for top male players looking to fine-tune ahead of the new season. The six-player format includes the top two seeds being handed byes into the semi-finals where they await the winners of the quarter-finals.
Traditionally held over three days between Christmas and New Year, the 2019 event has been moved to an earlier date of December 19-21.
The past two tournaments have also hosted one-off women's matches. In 2017, Serena Williams – making her return from an 11-month absence after giving birth – lost to then French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko. The 23-time grand slam champion was again on the losing side in 2018 when she played against her sister Venus, with both defeats coming after a third-set championship tie-break.
The women's match will again be returning in 2019, with an announcement expected later this week.
Spectators can expect yet another exciting Championship this December. Aside from the best live tennis action on court, ticket holders can make the most of excellent food and beverage offerings in the interactive Tennis Village, tennis clinics, Q&A sessions with the players and competitions. Demonstrating the Championship’s appeal as a fun family day out, day one is also Kids’ Day, with children 12 and under going free.
Tickets start from Dh100 for adults and are now on sale at www.ticketmaster.ae and Virgin Megastores across the UAE. Three-day and travel packages are also available with a 20 per cent discount.
Premier hospitality packages are also on sale, offering fans a premium food and beverage menu, courtside seating, exclusive Q&A sessions with a star player and much more.
More details are available on www.mubadalawtc.com.
Updated: October 1, 2019 12:33 PM