Rafael Nadal says he is excited ahead of his long-awaited return from injury at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi later this month.
The 11-time Grand Slam champion is set to play for the first time since suffering a partial tear of the patella tendon in his left knee in June. His last appearance came in a surprise defeat by Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon, one of the betting news shocks of the year.
Nadal will feature alongside defending champion and world number one Novak Djokovic in the United Arab Emirates, as well as US Open champion Andy Murray, David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych and Janko Tipsarevic. He will face either Murray or Tipsarevic in the last four.
The 26-year-old returned to the practice court for the first time in five months in November and is confident as his return to competitive action draws closer.
“After this long period away from competition, with all these months of rehabilitation and now hard practice, I am excited to see the moment to play again is close,” said the Spaniard to sports betting news reporters.
“Every time I play, I give 100 per cent and try to win, and it will be no different in Abu Dhabi. Obviously coming back from injury will be tough, but the Mubadala World Tennis Championship is exactly the test I need for my game and my fitness. I can’t wait to get back on centre court.”
Should Nadal see off the winner of the match between Murray and Tipsarevic, he is likely to face great rival Djokovic in the final on December 29. Recent history is on Nadal’s side, having won their last three meetings in the finals of the Monte Carlo Masters, Rome Masters and French Open.
Whether Nadal can replicate that kind of form after his latest knee problem remains to be seen.