Rafael Nadal to play at Mubadala World Tennis Championship

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Rafael Nadal has revealed he is targeting the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi for his return to tennis as the Spaniard continues to recover from a foot injury.

Nadal, 35, has been a frequent visitor to MWTC over the years and has used the December pre-season tournament at Zayed Sports City as part of his preparations for the new season and the Australian Open. The former world No 1 has won the tournament a record five times and is the defending champion after defeating Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas in the 2019 final.

After losing in the French Open semi-finals in June, Nadal underwent treatment on a foot injury and has since played just two matches, at the Washington Open in August.

“My plan is to play Abu Dhabi in December and then in a tournament before Australia and then the Australian Open. That’s my goal,” the 20-time Grand Slam champion said. “We’re working hard to make it happen.

“The injury in my foot still needs to get a little better, but I’m already training almost an hour-and-a-half a day, so that’s positive.

“I’m training, I’m feeling better. I’m back on the court.”

The 2021 Mubadala World Tennis Championship takes place December 16-18. Two of the six players for the male tournament have already been confirmed, with Norway’s world No 8 Casper Ruud and Canadian world No 19 Denis Shapovalov both set to make their debuts.

Meanwhile, the one-off women’s match will be contested by US Open champion Emma Raducanu and Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic.

The 2022 Australian Open will begin on January 17.

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