Rafael Nadal will return to "one of my favourite places to play" for next month's Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, the world No 2 confirmed on Tuesday.
The 17-time grand slam champion joins a stellar list including world No 1 Novak Djokovic, defending MWTC champion Kevin Anderson, Dominic Thiem, Hyeon Chung, Karen Khachanov, as well as seven-time major winner Venus Williams for the December 27-29 exhibition event.
Nadal, 32, will attempt to win a record-extending fifth MWTC title, having previously won in 2010, 2011 and both 2016 editions, which were held in the January and December of that year.
“Abu Dhabi is one of my favourite places to play, the climate, atmosphere and enthusiasm from the crowds at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship provides the perfect start to the new season," the Spaniard said.
"The tournament brings together players at the top of their game; we all relish playing in these extremely competitive matches.”
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John Lickrish, chief executive of Flash Entertainment, the event organisers, said: “We’re putting together an exciting line-up – one that reiterates the growing prominence of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship on the global tennis calendar. Nadal’s return, alongside the newly crowned No 1 Novak Djokovic, plus returning champ Kevin Anderson, underlines the importance top players place on the event. Welcoming Venus Williams for her debut in Abu Dhabi adds additional star power; we’re truly excited at the calibre of participants this year.”
Earlier this month, Nadal was forced to pull out of the Paris Masters and the ATP World Tour Finals in London because of an abdominal injury and last week also withdrew from the King Salman Tennis Championship in Saudi Arabia.
Earlier this year, Nadal tied the record held by Margaret Court for the most titles won at a single grand slam by beating Thiem in the final of the French Open and this year won his 33rd ATP Masters 1000 title at Toronto and passed Roger Federer for most ATP Masters 1000 wins at 362.
Tickets for the MWTC at the International Tennis Centre at Zayed Sports City are priced from Dh100, with free admission for children on the first day of the tournament on December 27.
They can be purchased from www.ticketmaster.ae or by calling 800 86 823 and at all Virgin Megastores across the UAE.