Rafael Nadal sounds like he would not mind Christmas coming a few days late if it means that he can return successfully to tennis at the Abu Dhabi exhibition set for December 27-29. The outing is due to be the first for the Spaniard in six months since being sidelined last summer with a knee injury.
“After this long period away from competition, with all these months of rehabilitation and now hard practice, I am excited to see the moment to play again is close,” the 11-time Grand Slam winner said in the run-up to the well-funded just-for-fun payday.
“Every time I play, I give 100 per cent and try to win; it will be no different in Abu Dhabi . Obviously coming back from injury will be tough, but the Mubadala World Tennis Championship is exactly the test I need for my game and my fitness. I can’t wait to get back on centre court.”
Nadal won’t be stretched too hard, with only a possible two matches on his easy-going itinerary, with the Spaniard receiving a “bye” in the hit-and-giggle also featuring world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.
Nadal’s first match in half a year match will pit him against the winner from Olympic champion Murray and Serb Janko Tipsarevic.
“Abu Dhabi has been the perfect place to begin the year, so I can’t wait to get back there,” said Nadal, who lost the 2009 final to Murray, “Being in a tournament setting while getting match fitness against some tough competition in good weather can only help me move forward as I look at the rest of the season.
“I’ve missed playing and I’ve missed the fans, but I know I’ll get a really warm welcome in Abu Dhabi .”
©Daily Tennis News Wire