Gael Monfils says playing Mubadala World Tennis Championship 'perfect way to begin an important season'

Frenchman, 33, confirmed as fifth men's player to take part in Abu Dhabi event alongside Nadal, Djokovic, Medvedev and Tsitsipas

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The 2019 Mubadala World Tennis Championship will host five of the world's top 10 men's tennis players next month after Gael Monfils was added to the lineup on Wednesday.

The Frenchman, 33, returns to Abu Dhabi for the first time in eight years for the December 19-21 exhibition event, joining a star-studded field already boasting world No 1 Rafael Nadal, defending champion and world No 2 Novak Djokovic, Russian world No 5 Daniil Medvedev and recently-minted ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas. It leaves only one more slot in the men's field to be filled.

Five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova is also confirmed for this year's MWTC, now in its 12th year, where she will take on the rising star Amanda Anisimova in the women's match on Day 1.

Monfils has enjoyed an impressive 2019, clinching the title at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam before making the quarter-finals of the US Open in August.

With eight career titles to his name on the ATP circuit, Monfils has also reached the semi-finals of the French and the US Open.

Monfils said that he was eager to return to Abu Dhabi. “Having played in Abu Dhabi before, I know the special atmosphere of this Championship and I am really excited to be coming back. I am looking forward to going up against a strong field and I believe that it will be the perfect way to begin an important season,” he said.

John Lickrish, chief executive of Flash Entertainment, said securing Monfils' signature added to the stardust of this year's tournament.

“Bringing the world’s best tennis players to Abu Dhabi is something that we take seriously at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship," he said. "Gael Monfils’ confirmation is proof of our desire to bring the global tennis elite to the UAE’s capital and treat spectators to the unique opportunity of watching five of the ten best males players in the World in a unique festival atmosphere that is fast-becoming a signature of this special Championship."