Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal waves to the crowd after his loss to David Goffin at the ATP Finals Getty


  • Nadal will feature in the Abu Dhabi event from 28-30 December.
  • The Spaniard won the event in 2016 before going through a remarkable 2017.

Rafael Nadal has been backed to have a perfect end to 2017 as he returns for the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi from 28-30 December where a meeting with Novak Djokovic could take place.

Nadal has had a remarkable year so far as despite having to pull out of the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals, and the Spaniard can look back at the last 11 months with a sense of satisfaction.

Not only did he win his first Grand Slams since 2014 with a record-breaking 10th French Open title and a third US Open title but he also became world number one again.

For the first time since 2013, the 31-year-old is ending the year as the top tennis player,

Nadal won the Mubadala tournament last year, beating David Goffin in the final, before embarking on his remarkable career renaissance.

Greg Sproule, the managing director of IMG Middle East and North Africa, one of the organisers of the event, believes it is a fitting way for him to end 2017.

"With the accomplishments of Rafa over the past year, and for him to come back, and this is where his season began last year, it is like a bookend, it is perfect," Sproule said, as quoted on The National.

Djokovic is also confirmed for the event as he will be making his first official appearance since withdrawing from Wimbledon in July.

Both Djokovic and Nadal have a bye into the semi-finals of the event, but Sproule is not so sure of the duo meeting in a potential blockbuster final, with the likes of Dominic Thiem and Pablo Carreno Busta also featuring.

"We did have Rafa and Roger once and that was the dream final," he added. "Rafa played exceptionally well, won two tiebreakers to win that match."

"But you are right. We have had Milos playing in the final [in 2016 when he lost to Nadal]. Goffin played last year. There is a sense of unpredictability going in which is great.

"People who follow the game, even a little bit, are starting to see the trend of these younger players really stepping up. They have been around Rafa and Novak for a while now. While they respect them they want their piece of the pie and so the battles go on."