Rafael Nadal confirms Mubadala World Tennis Championship title defense

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Rafael Nadal confirms Mubadala World Tennis Championship title defense

The 20-time Major champion Rafael Nadal has confirmed his participation at the 13th edition of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi. Zayed Sports City's International Tennis Centre will host the top-ranked players between December 16-18, and Nadal will try to defend the title he won in 2019 after that epic final against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The five-time Abu Dhabi winner is recovering nicely from a foot injury that forced him to end the official season already in August, working hard on the practice court and hoping for a fresh start at his favorite exhibition.

The organizers signed Casper Ruud, Denis Shapovalov and Dominic Thiem before adding Nadal's name to the list, with two more spots up for grabs. Rafa played under 30 matches in 2021 due to injuries, winning two titles and earning enough points to wrap up another season in the top-10.

Rafael Nadal will compete in Abu Dhabi between December 16-18.

The Spaniard lost in the Australian Open quarter-final to Stefanos Tsitsipas after taking the opening two sets, and that was his last match until April and his beloved clay.

Rafa lost to young guns in Monte Carlo and Madrid, battling hard in Barcelona and Rome to save three match points and claim important titles in what turned to be the troubled season for him. Seeking the 14th Roland Garros crown, Nadal suffered a heavy semi-final loss to Novak Djokovic after over four hours, injuring his left foot and skipping Wimbledon and the Olympic Games.

Testing his foot in Washington, Nadal decided to call it a season and take a rest ahead of 2022. The Spaniard underwent minor surgery in September and returned to the practice home at home in Mallorca. Rafa feels confident about making a fresh start in Abu Dhabi, hoping to play a couple of tournaments ahead of the Australian Open and raise his level.

In the Mubadala World Tennis Championship two years ago, Nadal prevailed over Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-7, 7-5, 7-6 in three hours and 15 minutes to lift the fifth title and wrap up a brilliant year in style. It was one of the best encounters in the history of this tournament, and Rafa needed everything from his arsenal to top the young challenger, who ousted Novak Djokovic in the semi-final.