Rafael Nadal unveils reduced 2019 schedule, entering only..

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Rafael Nadal unveils reduced 2019 schedule, entering only..

The 17-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal has been the no. 1 player in the biggest part of the season behind us, winning 45 out of 49 matches and conquering the Tour leading five ATP titles. Rafa was never beaten before the quarter-final stage and he played some epic matches on the biggest stage, giving his 120% but struggling with injuries that reduced his schedule to just nine tournaments. Right knee, hip and abdomen injuries sidelined Nadal in the majority of hard court events and he lost the ATP throne in the battle with Novak Djokovic after skipping the crucial tournaments in the closing months of the year that cost him the year-end no.

1 spot. Nadal was forced to retire at both Majors on hard court and the semi-final clash at the US Open against Juan Martin del Potro proved to be his last match of the season, unable to recover from a knee injury and missing Paris and the ATP Finals due to an abdominal injury.

Overall, the Spaniard had to skip Brisbane, Acapulco, Indian Wells, Miami, Cincinnati, Beijing, Shanghai, Paris and the ATP Finals and he will take a completely different approach in 2019, reducing the number of tournaments and making a perfect schedule that will allow him to give his best every time he steps on the court.

Rafa has been training at his Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca and he will travel to Abu Dhabi in a few days time to compete at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship between December 27-29. The official start of 2019 has been set for Brisbane in the first week of the new year and he will move to Sydney after that to hit the FAST4 Showdown before heading to Melbourne where he will seek the second Australian Open crown.

After a suitable rest, Rafa will play in Acapulco at the end of February after being forced to skip that tournament this season, preparing for the first Masters 1000 events of the year at Indian Wells and Miami, skipping them in 2018 as well.

Just like this season, the clay swing includes five biggest tournaments in the world on the slowest surface, looking to defend four titles he won in Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome and Paris and to add some valuable points at home in Madrid where Thiem defeated him in the quarters this May.

In the last couple of seasons, Nadal had to make a break between Roland Garros and Wimbledon and he decided to sign for no events between two Majors this time, skipping Queen's that he had to skip in both 2017 and 2018 after conquering Roland Garros.

Montreal, Cincinnati and the US Open will follow after Wimbledon and Rafa will join Roger at the Laver Cup later in September, spending three thrilling days in Switzerland and charging batteries for the closing tournaments of the year.

Shanghai and Paris are in Nadal's schedule as well, completing the Masters 1000 run and hoping to qualify for the ATP Finals for the 15th season in a row and play on a high level in London where he never won the title.

Rafa will have the opportunity to wrap up the year in Madrid in front of the home fans, leading Spain in the first edition of the Davis Cup finals that will take place at Caja Magica. Rafael Nadal's official 2019 schedule:

Abu Dhabi (exho)
Sydney (exho)
Australian Open
Indian Wells
Monte Carlo
Roland Garros
US Open
Laver Cup (exho)
ATP Finals (if he qualifies)
Davis Cup finals