After giving up Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics, Rafael Nadal tried to take the field in Washington to prepare in the best way possible for the last Grand Slam of the year. However, the problem with his left foot forced him to stop again and close his 2021 prematurely.
The Spaniard has undergone a particular treatment, not a real operation, and has already set a date for his return. In fact, Nadal will play the Mubadala World Tennis Championship from 16 to 18 December. The organizers of the event wasted no time and have already made known the event board and revealed the last participant.
Andy Murray will take part in the tournament and challenge Dominic Thiem to his debut (quarter-finals, ed.), Who even stopped before Nadal in 2021. The other quarter-final will see Denis Shapovalov opposing Casper Ruud, semifinalist at the ATP Finals in Turin.
Nadal and Andrey Rublev will start directly from the semifinals. The first will face the winner of the match between Murray and Thiem; the second will find one between Shapovalov and Ruud on the other side of the net.
Nadal's progress is being monitored weekly
Rafael Nadal was recently bestowed the Popular Award of Honor by Cadena COPE and during his interaction with the media, he spoke about his eventual return to action and the Spanish team's performance at the Davis Cup.
"Until things are 100% sure, I can't say much, in the end I don't know either. As I mentioned some weeks ago, my idea is to be in Abu Dhabi and play there on the 17th & 18th, and that's still my plan. However things are being analyzed week by week, as always, keeping in my mind that I want to return as early as possible, but above all I want to return being in good shape."
Nadal asserted that his condition has improved, which is why he is considering playing in Abu Dhabi. The event, however, is more of a test to see where he is at physically. "You don't know until you increase the load and test yourself at the highest level.
For now I'm doing what I have to do right now, what I've been told. I'm usually quite obedient & what I'm told to do is what I do. I'm currently in that process. Things are better than before, otherwise I'd not consider going to Abu Dhabi. But I don't know what will happen in the future. Abu Dhabi is a test for me and I'm motivated to be there."