Rafael Nadal in action against David Ferrer during the semi final at Mubadala World Tennis Championship Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Atiq-Ur-Rehman/Gulf News Archive

Abu Dhabi: Former world No 1 Rafael Nadal has confirmed he is ready to make his return to action at the 2015 season-opening Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi between January 1-3.

It will mark the Spaniard’s first match since he played at the Swiss Indoors in Basel, his last tournament of the year in October, after which he underwent appendicitis surgery.

With the official tournament draw for the Mubadala World Tennis Championship still to be announced, Nadal’s first match could be against any one of the world-class line-up. This includes world number 1, Novak Djokovic, reigning Australian Open champion, Stanislas Wawrinka, two-time major winner Andy Murray and the dynamic French duo of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gaël Monfils.

Sell-out crowds are expected to see the Spaniard begin his 2015 campaign in Abu Dhabi. Speaking during one of his training sessions after surgery, which forced him to miss the Paris Masters and London’s ATP Tour World Finals, Nadal said: “It’s unfortunate that I had to miss the end of this season, but the time off will allow me to become even more focused on what I want to accomplish in 2015. I have missed a couple of opportunities to play big competitive matches now so playing in Abu Dhabi in January for me is really important.”

It will be Nadal’s sixth tournament appearance in Abu Dhabi, having won the championship twice in 2009 and 2011. He added: “I’ve got history here, which makes the event even more special to me. The crowd is always full of energy, which makes us want to play even better, and with this type of competition format we have to be on our game the entire three days. I hope the crowds will be in for some great action on court.”

Before his injury travails, 2014 proved a historic year for Nadal, who captured his ninth Roland Garros title in the past 10 years with a four-set final win over Novak Djokovic. He became the first player in tennis history to win at least one grand slam a year for 10 straight years and now holds 14 major titles, tied with Pete Sampras at number two on the all-time leaderboard.

In addition to the tennis, the Mubadala World Tennis Championship boasts off-court action in the Tennis Village, where players can be found coaching tennis clinics and signing autographs.