Abu Dhabi: The world’s top two tennis players, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, have confirmed they will return to Abu Dhabi for the season-opening Mubadala World Tennis Championships from January 1 to 3, 2015.
The seventh edition of the annual event sees six of the world’s top players battle it out over three days for a winner-takes-all $250,000 (Dh918,250.09) prize purse.
Current world number one and recent Wimbledon champion Djokovic has never lost in the capital and is looking to secure a fourth consecutive title.
World number two and recent French Open winner Nadal won back-to-back titles here in 2010 and 2011, but the Spaniard will have to peg back Djokovic if he is to equal the Serbian’s record three wins.
Djokovic said Abu Dhabi was the perfect place to start the 2015 season.
“Abu Dhabi has always been very good to me and of course I was keen to return and defend my title,” he said. “The tournament draws the world’s top players and it is crucial for us to keep pushing and testing ourselves against each other, especially at the start of a new season.
“We’re more than half-way through the year now and, with one major secured, I feel that I am on track for a memorable year. But there is plenty more work to be done before we catch that flight to the UAE.
“Celebrating the new year in Abu Dhabi will be very special this time around and I’m hopeful of starting 2015 in the best possible way — with victory at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships.”
Nadal said he was hopeful of ending Djokovic’s winning reign in the capital.
“The standards are always high in Abu Dhabi,” he said. “The crowds are fantastic and there is a real buzz around the city so returning was an easy decision to make.
“It’s the perfect place to start the year and, although there is still a long way to go in this current season, we have to plan ahead and make sure we give ourselves the best opportunity to start the year strong. For me that would be playing the Mubadala Tennis Championships, where all top players want to play. I hope this year I can win.”
Ticket prices start from Dh50 and go on sale at midday on Tuesday, July 22, via www.ticketmaster.ae and at Virgin Mega Stores, or by calling 800 86823. An exclusive 24-hour pre-sale will begin at midday on Monday, July 21, for Flash members who have registered their email when purchasing tickets to previous Flash events.
2013 Novak Djokovic
2012 Novak Djokovic
2011 Novak Djokovic*
2011 Rafael Nadal*
2010 Rafael Nadal
2009 Andy Murray
*Events held in January and December 2011