Rafael Nadal, Press conference at the ATP World Tour Finals, London 2017
Photo by Martin Cole/ProSports/REX/Shutterstock | Rafael Nadal, ATP World Tour Finals, O2 London 2017

Mubadala rocked by Nadal’s withdrawal as injuries blight season openers

By Ros Satar

  • Rafael Nadal withdraws from the 10th edition of the Mubadala World Tennis Championships.
  • Follows Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic declaring themselves unfit for the season opener.
ABU DHABI, UAE – The Mubadala World Tennis Championships were rocked by a third withdrawal as defending champion Rafael Nadal pulled out.

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal became the latest (continuous?) injury concern as he was forced to withdraw from the 10th edition of the invitational exhibition that has often heralded the new season for the world’s elite ATP players.

The Mubadala World Tennis Championships has often played host to the world’s best, but it’s landmark anniversary has been struck by high profile withdrawals.

Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic were the first to pull out, replaced by Kevin Anderson and Andrey Rublev, and with Nadal’s withdrawal, Roberto Bautista Agut steps in for the No. 1 and defending champion.

In a statement on the MWTC website, Nadal said: “I am very sorry and disappointed to announce that I won’t be competing this year at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. This would have been my ninth participation in the tournament where I love to play and marking the beginning of my season.

“It was a tough 2017 and I need to take my calendar in a different way in order to be ready. For this reason, I have sadly announced to the organisers and now to you fans that I won’t play this time in Abu Dhabi. I really want to thank them for understanding and I am sending a special warm message to my fans in the UAE and in Abu Dhabi in particular,” he added.

Kei Nishikori pulled out of Brisbane, where Nadal is now looking to start his season, and The Telegraph this week claimed that Andy Murray was still struggling to adjust to his hip inury. It seems the only person on the walking wounded list not looking as though he is missing a limb is Novak Djokovic who is a three-time champion, and would no doubt dearly love to head to his Doha title defence with a title win here.

The Serbian, who has slipped to World No. 12, is the only player from last year’s notable walking wounded who has not looked to be in danger of having his 2018 troubled with continued injury – all eyes will be on his form.

The Mubadala World Tennis Championships take place between 28-30 December.