Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal Image Credit: AFP

Abu Dhabi: Spanish ace Rafael Nadal is all set to make his 10th appearance at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, according to the organisers.

The tournament will take place from December 27-29 as the 11th edition of the championship will also feature six top male players and two leading female players.

The organisers have already confirmed some of the bigwigs of the sport earlier — Novak Djokovic, Kevin Anderson, Dominic Thiem, Hyeon Chung, Karen Khachanov and Venus Williams.

In the latest ATP rankings released on Monday, Djokovic has snatched the top spot from Nadal following the latter’s retirement from the Paris Master. For the first time it wasn’t because the troublesome right knee that forced Nadal to quit his second-round match against Fernando Verdasco, but it was abdominal problems.

This latest injury however has cost Nadal his No. 1 ranking. Djokovic now have 8,045 points while Nadal have 7,480 points. Federer keeps his third spot with 6,020 points, while Juan Martin del Potro is currently World No. 4 with 5,300 points.

For Nadal, it was the second straight year withdrawn from the Paris indoors and he wasn’t sure if he will play at the season-ending ATP Finals in London, starting November 11. But this confirmation will be a huge boost for his fans here in the UAE and it might also mean it will be his first tournament ahead of the 2019 season.

“Abu Dhabi is one of my favourite places to play, the climate, atmosphere and enthusiasm from the crowds at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship provides the perfect start to the new season,” said Nadal, the 17-time Grand Slam champion, who will be looking for his fifth title at the Mubadala.

With such a strong field, the 32-year-old’s task won’t be that easy and he will be clearly facing a stiff challenge mainly from his arch rival — 31-year-old Serb.

“The tournament brings together players at the top of their game; we all relish playing in these extremely competitive matches,” said Nadal, whose last win here in UAE had come in 2016 beating Belgian David Goffin in straight games.

Earlier this year, Nadal tied the record held by Margaret Court for the most titles won at a single Grand Slam event beating Dominic Thiem in the final of the French Open. This year also saw him win his 33rd ATP Masters 1000 title at Toronto and surpass Roger Federer for most ATP Masters 1000 wins at 362.