Rafael Nadal confirmed for 2023 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

Record 22-time Grand Slam champion returns to tournament for first time since 2008

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Rafael Nadal will return to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships next month, 15 years after his last appearance at the tournament, organisers announced on Monday.

Nadal won the Dubai title in 2006, beating great rival Roger Federer in the final, and last appeared at the ATP Tour event in 2008. Since then, the Spaniard has established himself as one of the greatest players in history, winning a record 22 Grand Slam titles. He is currently ranked No 2 in the world.

“As one of the most instantly recognisable personalities in global sport, and one of the most decorated players to ever grace the game, we are absolutely thrilled to welcome Rafa back to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships after 15 years," said Colm McLoughlin, executive vice chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free.

"The last time Rafa played in Dubai, he had won three Grand Slams. He returns having amassed more Grand Slam titles than any other male player in history."

Nadal has competed in Dubai four times, making his debut in 2004 when he reached the quarter-finals. He returned two years later to win the title and the following year to defend the trophy, but lost in the quarter-finals. Nadal's most recent Dubai appearance was in 2008 where he again reached the quarter-finals.

The 36-year-old, who is currently in Australia to defend his Australian Open title, enjoyed a record-breaking 2022. After moving ahead of Novak Djokovic and Federer on 21 major titles at Melbourne Park, Nadal claimed Grand Slam No 22 five months later with his 14th French Open crown, becoming the tournament's oldest champion and extending his remarkable Roland Garros record to 106 wins from 109 matches.

“We are looking forward to another fortnight of incredible tennis, with an elite line-up of some of the world’s best talent,” said tournament director Salah Tahlak. “To welcome Rafael Nadal back to Dubai after such a long time brings me great joy and I am sure fans will be as excited as I am to see Rafa competing at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium once again.

"With the full players fields for both tournaments set to be confirmed in the coming weeks, we are sure to have another pair of unforgettable men’s and women’s tournaments with many of the best players in the world.”

The 2023 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships will begin with the WTA tournament from February 19-25, followed by the ATP tournament from February 27-March 5.

Tickets for the Championships to go on sale online on January 17. Fans and spectators can purchase tickets directly from dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com.

Updated: January 09, 2023, 11:11 AM