Rafael Nadal practices with Denis Shapovalov in Abu Dhabi

by   |  VIEW 11843

Rafael Nadal practices with Denis Shapovalov in Abu Dhabi

After spending a couple of days in Kuwait, the 20-time Major winner Rafael Nadal landed in Abu Dhabi ahead of his first match in four and a half months! The five-time Mubadala World Tennis Championship winner shared the practice court with Denis Shapovalov, making last preparations ahead of Friday's clash against Andy Murray or Daniel Evans.

Nadal has not played since early August, struggling with a left foot injury and deciding to skip the rest of the season. Feeling better after a treatment, Nadal trained at home in Mallorca ahead of the Mubadala event, where he claimed the title in 2019.

Eager to compete at one of his favorite tournaments again, the five-time champion Nadal stated how much he loves to play in Abu Dhabi, sharing a message with his fans and feeling thrilled to compete again. Two years ago, Nadal played one of the greatest matches in the tournament's history against Stefanos Tsitsipas, prevailing 6-7, 7-5, 7-6 in three hours and 12 minutes to wrap up a year in a perfect way.

Rafa needed everything from his arsenal to top the young challenger, who ousted Novak Djokovic in the semi-final. The Spaniard served for the opener at 5-4 but got broken before losing the tie break 7-3 after over an hour. Rafa fended off break chances at 4-4 in set number two and prevailed 7-5 with a volley winner to introduce a decider.

Rafael Nadal will seek the sixth Mubadala World Tennis Championship title.

The Spaniard opened a 4-2 gap before experiencing a break in the seventh game to keep the rival in contention and increase the drama. The more experienced player stayed composed in the tie break and grabbed it 7-3 to seal the deal and celebrate the fifth Mubadala World Tennis Championship title.

This season, Rafa played under 30 matches due to injuries, winning two titles and earning enough points to wrap up the 17th consecutive season inside the top-10. Dealing with a foot injury since Roland Garros, Nadal skipped Wimbledon and the Olympic Games before testing his body in Washington.

Two matches were enough for the Spaniard to realize he can not play with constant pain, undergoing a minor treatment on his foot and hoping for a fresh start in Abu Dhabi ahead of the Melbourne trip.