Rafael Nadal was a player to beat in 2019, playing on a high level throughout the season and lifting two Majors and two Masters 1000 trophies for his fifth year-end no. 1 honor. After failing to reach the ATP Finals semi-final despite scoring two wins, Nadal turned his focus to the inaugural Davis Cup Finals and claimed eight wins from as many matches for Spain at Madrid's Caja Magica to celebrate the title with his teammates.
A couple of weeks after lifting the Davis Cup trophy, Rafa added another crown to his cabinet after becoming the first player with five Mubadala World Tennis Championship titles. In the title clash, Nadal took down Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-7, 7-5, 7-6 after over three hours, with both players giving their 120% in one of the best matches in 12 editions of this prestigious offseason event.
Rafael Nadal defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in a thrilling Abu Dhabi final in 2019.
The opponents pushed each other to the limits all the time, with Stefanos saving set points in the opener and standing on the verge of victory in set number two before Rafa recovered his strokes.
The Spaniard stole the set and sent the encounter into a decider, where he prevailed in the tie break to lift the crown. Praising the event and organizers, Rafa hoped to return to Abu Dhabi in the upcoming years, thrilled with how he competed in those two matches and hoping for more of the same in the upcoming challenges in Australia in January.
Due to an injury, Nadal will not defend his Abu Dhabi crown in December. "I played in Abu Dhabi ten times; why not making it 11? Honestly, you never know, I'm always one year older, but hopefully, I will stay healthy and compete here again.
It's a tournament I like so much, and I always have great feelings here. Thank you to the crowd for an amazing year; their support is always astonishing. Thank you, Abu Dhabi and Mubadala - please continue your support of tennis.
I was a little bit surprised by how I played. I have been playing well at the end of the season. And it was just 15 days ago or a bit more when I won the Davis Cup for Spain with the rest of the guys, so things went quickly. And at some point, it's negative that we did not have much time between seasons, but on the other hand, I finished playing well, and that helps to keep going," Rafael Nadal said.