Serbian Novak Djokovic returns a ball against Spanish Rafael Nadal during their final match of the Madrid Masters at the Caja Magic sports complex in Madrid. Image Credit: AFP

Abu Dhabi: Six stars from the current top 10, including three of the top four led by world number one Novak Djokovic, will once again put the tennis world's spotlight on Abu Dhabi from December 29-31 this year.

Djokovic will be joined by world number two and 10-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal, world number four and holder of 16 Grand Slam titles Roger Federer, world number five David Ferrer, world number nine Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and world number 10 Gael Monfils and the six will chase a prize fund of $250,000.

For tennis fans in the UAE and the region, it cannot get better than this as one of the current top four will be on the courts of the Abu Dhabi International Tennis Complex at Zayed Sports City on the opening day of the three-day event, while the champions serve notice of their intentions for the New Year and season ahead in 2012.

Djokovic said in a message: "I've heard so much about Abu Dhabi and it's a place I've always wanted to see for myself and play here with some top competitors. This season has been very special as I've probably played the best tennis of my life, but I remain focused on the future and continuing my form into next season starting with Abu Dhabi. Obviously a tournament of real quality to begin the season is vital for building early momentum and the Mubadala World Tennis Championship is the perfect place to start."

Serious test

Nadal, who has been a regular here, said: "Having seen the strength of the field, I'm already looking forward to a serious test and defending my title. I know I'll need to be at my best, so it's exactly the preparation I need ahead of the Australian Open."

Shatha Al Romaithi of Flash Entertainment, who addressed yesterday's press conference to announce the line-up said: "This year's line-up is spectacular. From the moment the first ball is struck, sports fans will get exactly what they are looking for — the chance to witness arguably the greatest rivals in world sport as they go head to head at the start of the global tennis season here in Abu Dhabi.

Greg Sproule, Managing Director of event manager IMG's operations in the Middle East, said: "The unique ability of this championship to touch both the lives of the individual in Abu Dhabi and sports fans around the world is part of its success. The Mubadala World Tennis Championship has come to mean something very special.


Dates: December 29- December 31, 2011


Novak Djokovic - World Number 1

Rafael Nadal - World Number 2

Roger Federer - World Number 3

David Ferrer - World Number 5

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - WorldNumber 9

Gael Monflis - World Number 10

Venue: Abu Dhabi International Tennis Complex, Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi

Prize money: $250,000

Defending champion: Rafael Nadal

Title sponsor: Mubadala