It has been confirmed that the world number four Rafael Nadal will feature in his first ATP event in over six months in Doha, Qatar.
Nadal, who started training on the tennis court four days ago after a gap of almost five months, will also participate in an exhibition match in the last week of 2012 in Abu Dhabi. However, the 11-time Grand Slam champion will play his first tour level match since June at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in the first week of 2013.
Qatar ExxonMobil Open’s tournament director, Karim Alami, happily informed of Nadal’s participation at the event. Alami pointed out the fact that the Spaniard will be making his comeback after such a long layoff that everyone will have their eyes on him at this event.
He said, “Rafael Nadal is returning to competitive tennis since his knee injury at Wimbledon so everyone is looking forward to seeing what he brings. David Ferrer has had an amazing year with the number of titles he has had and winning his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 in Paris. Gael Monfils is always a fan favourite and it is wonderful to have Richard Gasquet return to the event after a long absence.”
Alami added, “We are incredibly honoured to have another year with players of the highest caliber coming to the Qatar ExxonMobil Open. The week in Doha kicks off the ATP World Tour season and these players are looking to hit the courts fresh from their end of season break.”
Nadal has not played a single match after surprisingly losing at the hands of a low ranked player from Czech Republic Lukas Rosol in the second round of Wimbledon. The Spanish number one has been recovering from knee injury since then.
The 26-year-old will try to have as much match practice before the first Grand Slam of the season, the Australian Open, as he can. The King of clay will have to defend 1200 ranking points in Melbourne, as he had reached the title match last year.
If Nadal loses early and Ferrer does well at the Australian Open, the latter will overtake the former to become the highest ranked player from Spain. Nadal will drop to fifth position in the ATP Rankings and his spot will be taken by his Davis Cup team mate and close friend Ferrer. Ferrer trails Nadal by just 290 ATP Ranking points at the moment.