Novak Djokovic believes Mubadala World Tennis Championship can set him up for tilt at seventh Australian Open crown

The Serbian, a three-time winner in Abu Dhabi in the past, is among the six-man field for the event taking place on December 28-30 at Zayed Sports City Tennis Stadium.

Serbia's Novak Djokovic receives medical treatment during his Men's Singles Match against Czech Republic's Tomas Berdych on day nine of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Wednesday, July 12, 2017. (Gareth Fuller/PA via AP)
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Novak Djokovic believes trying to win a fourth Mubadala World Tennis Championship title in Abu Dhabi is the ideal platform for him to kick start his return to tennis after six months out with injury.

The 12-time major winner has not played since having to retire hurt against Tomas Berdych at Wimbledon with an elbow injury.

But he returns to action on December 29 at the Zayed Sports City Tennis Stadium when he will take on either Dominic Thiem or Milos Raonic for a place in the final.


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“It is always an honour to play in Abu Dhabi and I can’t wait to get back on court again," the 30 year old said in a statement.

"This tournament will offer me the perfect opportunity to start my preparation for the Australian Open.”

Djokovic has never lost a match on court in Abu Dhabi from his previous four appearances at the event.

He won it in 2011, 2012 and 2013, but an injury forced him to forfeit the 2015 final to Andy Murray.

Djokovic, who has spent 223 weeks at No 1 during his career, has fallen to No 12 in the world rankings due to his time away from the court as he rehabilitated his elbow problem, his lowest position since March 2007.

His first big goal after Abu Dhabi will be bidding to become the most successful men's player, in terms of most singles titles, at the Australian Open.

He currently shares the record with Rod Emerson on six, and victory in Melbourne in 2018 would put him out on his own on seven.

Djokovic has not won a major since the 2016 French Open, the event which gave him a career grand slam.

The other three players competing in Abu Dhabi during the event, which runs from December 28-30, are world No 1 Rafael Nadal, three-time major winner Stan Wawrinka and Pablo Carreno Busta.

Nadal is a four-time winner of the competition, and has won it the past two years, and he will start his challenge on December 29 against the winner of Wawrinka and Carreno Busta's quarter-final encounter a day earlier.