Abu Dhabi: Tennis fans in the UAE have been handed a huge boost with the news that Rafael Nadal will join world number one Novak Djokovic and Wimbledon champion Andy Murray in appearing in the capital at the end of the year.
The world number two, and reigning French Open and US Open champion, has confirmed he will take part in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship from December 26-28.
It will be the fifth time that Nadal will be competing in the tournament, which is being held at the Zayed Sports City Tennis Centre.
He was due to compete last year, but had to pull out through injury, and is therefore relishing the chance to make up for that in December.
The Spaniard, who has twice claimed the trophy in Abu Dhabi, in 2010 and 2011, said: “I’ve been working hard all season and to have won two Grand Slams this year is an amazing feeling. I’m playing good tennis and I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of the season will bring. After the disappointment of last year, I promised my fans in the UAE I would return, so I’m very happy it’s happening so soon and I’m back in the player line-up. This will be my fifth time playing in Abu Dhabi and I’m looking forward to getting back on court there later this year. It’s a great opportunity to test myself, especially just before the start of the new season.
“I’m sure I’ll face some tough competition but I’m hoping to take the title for a third time and play some great tennis for the Abu Dhabi fans in the process. The atmosphere is always fantastic and will be counting on the crowd’s support to help me win again this year.”
Having fought his way back into the world top three in ruthless fashion only last month after a 2012 season plagued with injury, Nadal cemented his return to the top of the game with a stunning victory over Novak Djokovic in the last Grand Slam of the year, the US Open. Nadal overpowered the Serb in four sets to remain unbeaten on hard courts in a year which has seen him win 60 of 64 matches and lift 10 titles, two of them Majors.
But Djokovic has won the Mubadala World Tennis Championship crown for the last two years and will be aiming for his third straight win at the tournament in December. Murray took home the inaugural title in 2009 before Nadal powered to success in 2010 and 2011.
Murray has undergone surgery on a long-standing back injury, which could sideline him for the rest of the year, but he will be hope to be back in action in Abu Dhabi.
Tickets for the event, organised by the regional events company Flash Entertainment partnership with Mubadala, the strategic investment and development company, are on sale from www.ticketmaster.ae and 800 TM UAE (86 823), with prices starting from AED 50.
For more information, visit www.mubadalawtc.com.