All eyes will be on Rafael Nadal as he looks to return from an injury-filled 2018 season as he takes to court for his first tournament of the new season.
Nadal will feature at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship which will be played in Abu Dhabi from December 27, with the Spaniard taking on the winner of the Kevin Anderson-Hyeon Chung encounter. This will be Nadal’s first competitive match since retiring from his US Open encounter against Juan Martin del Potro because of an injury issue.
And while Nadal did finish world number two at the end of the season, he did not feature in a lot of tournaments because of his fitness concerns that culminated in a surgery following his retirement from the US Open. And now he believes the couple of matches he will play at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, an exhibition tournament that’s in its 11th year, would play a vital role going into the 2019 season.
Nadal said he was “feeling good” as he looks to practice and tune himself for the start of the tournament. With respect to how his previous season went, he added:
“I believe I had a good season besides the injuries. When I was fit to play I managed to play well and get good results. So in that regard I think it was a very successful season, I played nine tournaments and finished No 2 in the world.”
Nadal, who won the French Open for a record 11th time in 2018, also professed his love for Roland-Garros, something that shouldn’t come as a surprise for too many.
“Roland Garros is the most important tournament of my career. Having managed to win there 11 times makes it really special for me.”
“I love playing in Paris and always felt that Roland Garros was that special place to play.”
The Spaniard will be joined in this competition by compatriot and world number one Novak Djokovic, who overcame a sluggish start to the previous season to end with two Grand Slam titles. The Serb also ended the year as the top-ranked player, an eventuality that looked highly unlikely when he crashed out in round four at the Australian Open and the quarter-final at the French Open.
Now, Nadal and Djokovic could face off in the final at this competition if they both win their respective matches but could also face off in the third-place match in case they lose the semi-finals.
Get more information on how to watch the Mubadala World Tennis Championship live streaming or buy tickets for this competition here.