Rafael Nadal to play Dubai for first time since 2008

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Rafael Nadal to play Dubai for first time since 2008

Rafael Nadal has signed up to compete in Dubai between February 27 - March 05. Nadal, 36, will be making his first Dubai appearance since 2008. Nadal made his Dubai debut in 2004, when he made the quarterfinal. Two years later, Nadal captured his first Dubai title after beating Roger Federer in the final.

In 2007 and 2008, Nadal made back-to-back quarterfinals in Dubai. The Dubai event is held simultaneously as the Acapulco event. After winning the Acapulco titles in 2020 and 2022, Nadal has decided for a change of scenery as he will be playing in Dubai this year.

Nadal preparing for his Australian Open title defence

Nadal's 2023 season didn't get off to a great start.

In his first match of the year at the United Cup, Nadal was up by a set before losing to Cameron Norrie. The same thing happened in Nadal's second match as the Spaniard was up by a set before Alex de Minaur stormed back to win in three sets.

Nadal didn't impress at the United Cup but vowed to keep fighting. “I need battles like this, I didn’t play many official matches [in the] last six months, almost seven, so days like this still help, the process is faster but I need to keep fighting, that’s it.

For moments I played a very good level of tennis. I was able to play some good tennis but not consistently enough in the second set for me, break at the beginning in the second, chance to win almost every single game five-one, or even six-one, and I’ve lost six games in a row, so can’t happen.

And then again, some good points in the third, some chances but some mistakes too. That’s it, I need to keep fighting, keep finding the rhythm," Nadal said after losing to de Minaur. It remains to be seen if Nadal can defend his Australian Open title this January.

Rafael Nadal