Rafael Nadal To Play In Abu Dhabi And Doha On His Way To Melbourne
epa03479236 Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal, serves a ball during his first training session in Manacor, Balearic Islands, Spain, 20 November 2012, after spending several months off the tennis courts due to a injury. EPA/ISAAC BUJ |
Doha tournament director Karim Alami says Rafael Nadal is on the way to the Gulf to start his ATP season on the last day of the year. The former ATP player told the region’s The Peninsula newspaper: “Nadal is returning to competitive tennis since his knee injury at Wimbledon so everyone is looking forward to seeing what he brings.”
The 26-year-old No. 4 Spaniard will not have played for six months due to his lingering knee injuries by the time he gets to Doha, which begins the 2013 ATP season.
Nadal is now also due to start at the rich Abu Dhabi exhibition form December 27-29 to pick up some petty cash after his long absence from the courts.
World number one Novak Djokovic and US Open champion Andy Murray are due to play Abu Dhabi, with Roger Federer skipping the Middle East events in the run-up to the January 14 start of the Australian Open.
Nadal last played in a second-round Wimbledon loss in late June. He began training last week, with a brief session in front of television cameras at an indoor court on his home island of Mallorca and pronounced himself on the road to full recovery.
Nadal, down to fourth in the world, would be top seed in Doha, which begins December 31 in a field which also includes fellow Spaniard David Ferrer and Frenchmen Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet.
Venus Williams was taking a deserved day off at the Qatar Total Open, having a routine practice with hitting partners on a court adjacent to where little kids were playing mini-tennis with coaches dressed up as Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and Donald Duck.