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Rafael Nadal Returns To Action In Abu Dhabi This Week, Set New Record



The Spaniard will play either Andy Murray or Dan Evans in his first match of the exhibition event on Friday.

It was a difficult second half of the season for Rafael Nadal. Due to a foot injury and the need for recovery, the 20-time Grand Slam champion missed Wimbledon, the Olympics and everything else from mid-August on, including the US Open.

But in just a few days he’ll make his return to the court at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi that he’s dominated in the past—he’s won it five times, including the last time it was held in 2019, beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in an epic final, 6-7 (3), 7-5, 7-6 (3), after three hours and 15 minutes.

This will be Nadal’s 11th appearance in 13 editions of the event.

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“I’m very happy to be back at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi,” Nadal said in a video message. “I hope to see you soon there.”

Nadal has a bye into the semifinals of the event this year and will begin his campaign on Friday against the winner of an all-British quarterfinal between Andy Murray and Dan Evans, which takes place on Thursday.

The Spaniard’s last match came on August 5th, almost four and a half months ago, falling to South Africa’s Lloyd Harris in the round of 16 in Washington D.C.

He’s scheduled to make his tour-level return at the ATP 250 event in Melbourne the week of January 3rd, which is the first week of the 2022 ATP season.

Despite not playing for most of the second half of the year, a strong first half of 2021—which included winning the ATP 500 in Barcelona for the 12th time and the Masters 1000 in Rome for the 10th time, as well as reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and the semifinals of Roland Garros—helped Nadal maintain his spot in the Top 10, finishing at No. 6 on the year-end ATP rankings three weeks ago.

It was Nadal’s 17th career Top 10 finish, all consecutive.

NADAL’S YEAR-END RANKINGS (since debuting on ATP rankings in 2001)

2001: No. 818

2002: No. 235

2003: No. 47

2004: No. 51

2005: No. 2

2006: No. 2

2007: No. 2

2008: No. 1

2009: No. 2

2010: No. 1

2011: No. 2

2012: No. 4

2013: No. 1

2014: No. 3

2015: No. 5

2016: No. 9

2017: No. 1

2018: No. 2

2019: No. 1

2020: No. 2

2021: No. 6

Nadal is now in second place for most Top 10 finishes in ATP rankings history.


18: Roger Federer (2002-2015, 2017-2020)

17: Rafael Nadal (2005-2021)

16: Andre Agassi (1988-1992, 1994-1996, 1998-2005)

16: Jimmy Connors (1973-1988)

14: Novak Djokovic (2007-2016, 2018-2021)

And last but most certainly not least, Nadal has surpassed Jimmy Connors for the record for most consecutive years finishing in the Top 10 in ATP rankings history.


17: Rafael Nadal (2005-2021)

16: Jimmy Connors (1973-1988)

14: Roger Federer (2002-2015)

13: Ivan Lendl (1980-1992)

12: Pete Sampras (1990-2001)

Guys! Rafa just sent us this… 😬#MWTC @RafaelNadal

— Mubadala World Tennis Championship (@MubadalaWTC) November 29, 2021

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Hammed Tajudeen is the editor in-chief of Blaze News, holds Higher National Diploma(HND) in Mass Communication, graduated from Osun State Polytechnic, Iree.

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