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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

Rafael Nadal confirms early 2018 plans with Brisbane visit as Kyrgios and Dimitrov set up Cincinnati showdown

The Spaniard becomes world No 1 on Monday when he leapfrogs Andy Murray in the ATP rankings.

A successful 2017 has seen Rafael Nadal go back to world No 1, and he will start 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. Aaron Doster / USA TODAY Sports
A successful 2017 has seen Rafael Nadal go back to world No 1, and he will start 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. Aaron Doster / USA TODAY Sports

New world No 1 Rafael Nadal will return to play in the Brisbane International ahead of the Australian Open early next year, organisers said on Sunday.

The 15-time Grand Slam champion will take the top rankings spot when the official ATP rankings are released on Monday.

It will be the first time the Spaniard has hit the top rankings spot since 2014.

Nadal played in Brisbane for the first time in January and the 31-year-old went on to reach the Australian Open final in Melbourne where he lost to Roger Federer.

"I'm very happy to be back, last year for me was the first experience and was very successful," Nadal said in a statement.

"The atmosphere is great and there's a lot of nice people supporting the event. I really enjoyed the experience."

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Nadal's matches attracted record attendances and organisers said more than a million people around the world tuned in online to a live stream of his first training session in Brisbane.

Nadal's return to the top of the rankings follows his win at Roland Garros for a record 10th time.

The Brisbane International takes place from December 31 to January 7, and comes after Nadal bids to retain his Mubadala World Tennis Championship title in Abu Dhabi when the annual exhibition event takes place between December 28-30.

Meanwhile, Nick Kyrgios, the man who beat Nadal in the quarter-finals of the Cincinnati Masters on Friday, will meet Grigor Dimitrov in Sunday's final of the ATP 1000 tournament.

Kyrgios defeated Spaniard David Ferrer 7-6, 7-6 in their semi-final, and Dimitrov won by the same scoreline against John Isner.