Rafael Nadal confirmed that he will make his return from injury in Mubadala World Tennis Championship in December this year and will use the tournament to prepare for the upcoming season. The Spaniard will defend his title in the ninth edition of the tournament and is hoping that a good run will help him get back to his best on the ATP Tour next season.
"Excited to announce my first tournament back will be in Abu Dhabi at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in December," Nadal communicated via his official Twitter account.
The 30-year-old cut his 2016 season short after the Shanghai Masters in October owing to injury troubles that have hampered him throughout the year. The former world number one started the season in fine form, making it to the finals of the Australian Open, where he lost to Novak Djokovic and followed it up with wins at the Monte Carlo Masters and Barcelona Open. However, an injury during the French Open saw him miss the following months, including Wimbledon.
Nadal returned for this summer's Olympic Games in Rio, but failed to win a medal after going down in straight sets to Kei Nishikori in the Bronze medal match. His failure to taste success in the tournament prompted him to cut his season short and concentrate on making a full recovery from injury before a comeback. The 14-time Grand Slam champion has made it clear that he wants to win more majors and revealed that he is willing to 'die' to be ready to compete for the big prizes.
The Mubadala World Championship, which takes place at the end of December (29th-31st), is an exhibition tournament that will see six players compete for the title and $250,000 (£202,000) in prize money. The tour is generally used by the players to fine tune their games ahead of the start of the ATP Tour in January. Newly crowned world number one Andy Murray will also be part of the roster which includes Tomas Berdych, Jo Wilfried-Tsonga, Milos Raonic and David Goffin.
"I really enjoy the fans, the competition and the atmosphere in the stadium in Abu Dhabi. It is the best way to start my season," Nadal said in a release, as quoted by The National.
"I've enjoyed many years playing in the UAE capital against the other top guys and I'm already looking forward to the next.
"After playing in Abu Dhabi I went on to play some great matches on the tour at the start of the year and I'll be hoping for even better this time," the Spaniard added.