Rafael Nadal makes his long-awaited return at the Mubadala Tennis Championship later this month – and the former world number one wants to make it a winning one.
Nadal hasn’t been on court since he was embarrassed in the second round of Wimbledon by Lukas Rosol in June.
The Spaniard had been playing through the pain barrier for much of the year due to a combination of knee injuries and was forced to sit out the rest of the season following his loss at SW19.
Having had to watch the US Open, Olympic Games and ATP World Tour Finals from home, Nadal is eager to get back to work on December 28.
The event in the Middle East may only be an exhibition tournament but will feature the best players in the world, giving Nadal a chance to make a statement on his comeback.
The 11-time Grand Slam champion has admitted he doesn’t expect to find his best form until April but isn’t shy about admitting he is eager to rediscover that winning feeling.
“Can’t wait to get back on court in Abu Dhabi at the end of the month,” Nadal wrote on his Facebook page.
“I won the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in 2010 and 2011 – would love to get my hands on the trophy again this year!”
Nadal is looking to build his fitness ahead of the first Grand Slam of 2013, the Australian Open, where he reached the final last year. He is 7/1 to win it with Betfred
Defending champion Novak Djokovic is 6/4 to retain his crown in Melbourne, while Andy Murray is 5/2 to follow up his US Open success with a second Grand Slam crown Down Under.