Rafael Nadal 'very happy' to make return at Mubadala World Tennis Championship

The 20-time Grand Slam champion will make his return to the court in Abu Dhabi next month

Rafael Nadal has released a video message for tennis fans in the UAE as the 20-time Grand Slam champion prepares to make his return to the court at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship next month.

Nadal, 35, is MWTC's most successful ever player, winning the title five times. The Spaniard is the defending champion having won the 2019 edition by beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.

Nadal played a shortened season this year, with a foot injury forcing him to call time on his campaign in August, but the former world No 1 announced earlier this month he will be part of the six-player tournament at Zayed Sports City's International Tennis Centre.

"Hello everyone, Rafa here," Nadal said in the video message released on Tuesday. "I'm very happy to be back at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi. I hope to see you soon there."

Nadal will be joined at the December 16-18 tournament by three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray, world No 5 Andrey Rublev, former US Open winner Dominic Thiem, world No 8 Casper Ruud, and 14th-ranked Denis Shapovalov. The one-off women's match will be contested by US Ope champion Emma Raducanu and Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic.

As one of the top two seeds, Nadal has received a bye to the semi-finals and will face the winner of Murray's quarter-final against Thiem. Rublev will therefore take on either Ruud or Shapovalov.

Full line-up for 2021 MWTC

Updated: November 30th 2021, 6:49 AM