Rafael Nadal returning to Abu Dhabi for Mubadala Tennis: ‘Best way to start my season’
Mubadala World Tennis Championship organisers announced on Monday morning that Rafael Nadal would return to defend his title at the ninth edition of the tournament at the end of December.
It was also announced Tomas Berdych and David Goffin would round out the six-man field that already included Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Milos Raonic.
Nadal, the current world No 8, will use Abu Dhabi once more to fine-tune his game ahead of the new season and, in particular, the Australian Open. The Spaniard is also scheduled to play January’s Australian Open warm-up Brisbane International tournament for the first time.
“I really enjoy the fans, the competition and the atmosphere in the stadium in Abu Dhabi,” Nadal said in a release. “It is the best way to start my season.
“I’ve enjoyed many years playing in the UAE capital against the other top guys and I’m already looking forward to the next.
“After playing in Abu Dhabi I went on to play some great matches on the tour at the start of the year and I’ll be hoping for even better this time.”
Nadal beat Canadian world No 4 Raonic last year in the final 7-6 (7/2), 6-3. The 30-year-old has won the pre-season showcase three times, with victories in 2010 and 2011 as well.
Czech world No 10 Berdych returns for the first time since December 2012, when he competed in the fifth staging of the tournament. Belgian No 11 Goffin, 25, will make his debut in Abu Dhabi.
“It’s going to be amazing to compete in Abu Dhabi and I am really proud to be selected amongst such a world class line-up,” Goffin said in the release. “I’ve heard great things about the quality of the tournament and I can’t wait to experience the atmosphere and the fans in this part of the world.
“The competition is going to be very strong and it’s a great time of year to be playing tennis of such a high standard.”
The confirmed players give Mubadala its strongest field in three years, with all six ranking inside the top-12 in the world. If new world No 1 Murray manages to hold onto this place at the ATP World Tour Finals next week, he would be making his first appearance as a year-end No 1 in Abu Dhabi.
This year’s tournament runs from December 29-31. Ticketing information can be found here.
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Updated: November 7, 2016 04:00 AM