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10sBalls News • Nadal, Djokovic Headline Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi

By Ricky Dimon

The Mubadala World Tennis Championship, the annual preseason exhibition event in Abu Dhabi, will take place from Thursday to Saturday. This year’s field includes Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Karen Khachanov, Andrey Rublev, and Hyeon Chung. There will also be a women’s exhibition match between Maria Sharapova and Alja Tomljanovic.

As aways, the top two seeds–in this case Nadal and Djokovic–receive byes to the semifinals of the six-man tournament. Nadal awaits either Khachanov or Chung, while Djokovic will begin his week against the Tsitsipas-Rublev winner.

Since the inaugural event in 2008, only four different men have lifted the trophy. Nadal and Djokovic are tied with four titles, Andy Murray has won it twice, and Kevin Anderson is the lone one-time winner. Anderson triumphed in 2017 (d. Roberto Bautista Agut) and finished runner-up in 2018 (l. to Djokovic).

“I have always had a great time and enjoyed every minute at the Mubadala event,” Nadal commented. “It is a great way to start the season and getting ready this year for the ATP Cup. In previous years it was my entrance to the new season, continuing to other events. I always felt this tournament was getting better every year; I am sure this year will be no exception to that.”

Alternates Khachanov and Rublev do not have as much experience in Abu Dhabi, but at the same time they are not first-timers. Rublev made his debut in 2017, while Khachanov played in last year’s tournament. The two Russians were not on the initial 2019 entry list, but they ended up replacing Daniil Medvedev and Gael Monfils. Medvedev and Monfils participated in last week’s Diriyah Tennis Cup in Saudi Arabia, after which the Russian–who won the tournament–cited fatigue and Monfils was hit by another injury.

“I was fortunate enough to experience this championship a couple of years ago,” Rublev reflected. “With a very strong lineup, it’s an opportunity to start the season with very competitive matches.”

“I can’t wait to return to the Mubadala World Tennis Championship and to Abu Dhabi after a great experience last year,” Khachanov said. “The weather is fantastic and the fans really know their tennis. The set-up is superb, the crowd can really get involved, and it also offers the perfect opportunity to get the new season off and running with some hard matches.”

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

Editor’s Note • it’s no fun getting a social media lockdown. We posted in a title. “Ford Versus Ferrari” • the photo we had was of “FORD” • Carroll Shelby and one of his BEST buddies (Our Founder) “Mr. I only drive FERRARI…” So we didn’t deserve our blocks (thanks Instagram) But here’s the whole explanation. 

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