Milos Raonic joins Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the desert

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Milos Raonic joins Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the desert

The 12th edition of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi takes place between December 19-21, offering one of the strongest pre-season actions. Since the first Mubadala WTC tournament in January 2009, some of the biggest stars from the last decade had all played at the Abu Dhabi International Tennis Complex, with eight titles shared between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, and two more that Andy Murray grabbed.

The organizers of the upcoming event had been working hard on signing the most reliable possible line-up once again, with the world's leading players Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic heading to Abu Dhabi in the quest for the fifth title in the desert.

The US Open finalist and the two-time Masters 1000 champion Daniil Medvedev will try to spoil their party, together with the ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas who wants to become world no. 1 in the season ahead of us. The fifth signed player was another top-10 star Gael Monfils who will make his first trip to Abu Dhabi since 2011 when he lost to Novak Djokovic in the first round.

On Wednesday, the organizers confirmed Milos Raonic as the sixth and final competitor, with the Canadian heading back to Abu Dhabi for the first time since 2016 when he played there twice, in both January and December. The Canadian finished runner-up at this event in January 2016, losing to Rafael Nadal and seeking another good run after many troubles he had to overcome in 2019.

Finishing that season in the top-3, Milos has never found that form again, struggling with left wrist, right calf muscle tear, right knee, elbow and back injuries that have halted his progress since 2017. With only three top-10 triumphs in the last two and a half years, Milos barely stayed in the top-40, giving his best to leave the dark period behind him and start playing injury-free and seek the level he had a few years ago when he was a Major contender.

In the last two seasons, Raonic has been struggling with a right knee and back injuries, managing to deliver some good results in Melbourne, Indian Wells and Stuttgart this year but not being able to stay healthy and avoid problems.

Raonic had to retire against the young compatriot Felix Auger-Aliassime in Montreal due to a back injury and skip Cincinnati and the US Open, playing two matches at the Laver Cup before staying away from the ATP tournaments until Vienna in late October.

The Canadian couldn't find form in the Austrian capital and Paris, finishing the season outside the top-30 for the first time since 2011 and working hard on the comeback for 2020 after visiting the specialists in Boston.