WORL No 4 Rafa Nadal has confirmed he will return to competitive action at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi – possibly against Andy Murray – at the end of December after six months out with a knee injury.
The 11-times Grand Slam singles champion has not competed since a shock defeat to Czech Lukas Rosol in the second round at Wimbledon in June. The Spaniard was later diagnosed with a partial tear of the patella tendon and an inflammation in his left knee and was unable to defend his Olympic title at the London Games.
He also missed the US Open and the season-ending World Tour championships before returning to the practice court on 20 November. “Can’t wait to get back on court in Abu Dhabi at the end of the month,” the 26-year-old wrote on his Facebook page.
Nadal is due to play either Murray or ninth-seeded Serbian Janko Tipsarevic on 28 December at the event in Abu Dhabi, which is not part of the ATP Tour. World No 1 Novak Djokovic, fifth-ranked David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych, of the Czech Republic, are also taking part.
Meanwhile, Djokovic has beaten Murray to the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) annual men’s World Champion award with American Serena Williams taking the women’s prize for a third time. Djokovic, who ended a second successive year on top of the ATP rankings, successfully defended his Australian Open title, reached the final at the French Open and US Open and claimed five other titles including the season-ending Tour Finals.
Murray was a strong contender for the honour after beating Djokovic at the US Open to win his first Grand Slam title and claiming gold at Wimbledon.