By Natalie Williams • 07 December 2021 • 22:54
Finally, there is light at the end of the tunnel for Rafa Nadal. His comeback will be all eyes on the Abu Dhabi exhibition tournament, where the winner of 20 majors will defend the title he won in 2019.
After four months out with a foot injury, the ATP number five is finalising his preparations at his Manacor Academy this week before travelling to the emirate, where he could face the likes of Andrey Rublev, Casper Ruud and Denis Shapovalov.
On Monday, December 6, the Rafa Nadal Academy published a photograph of the Balearic tennis player training at its facilities and today a video has been leaked showing the intense level of his rally. A sign that the work with his coach, Carlos Moyà, and his doctor, Angel Ruiz-Cotorro, is on track. The problems in his left foot, which worsened at Roland Garros and forced him to stop in August, seem to be behind him. It is about time that Rafa saw the light at the end of the tunnel.
The Müller-Weiss syndrome, which he has suffered from since 2005, forced Rafa to withdraw from the Masters 1000 in Toronto and Cincinnati before sitting out the US Open and the rest of the season on concrete. After a four-month break, the 35-year-old Spaniard looks set to return to action in Abu Dhabi, where he will be seeking his sixth title in 13 appearances.
The organisers of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, which takes place between December 16 and 18, have confirmed that Nadal will hold a meeting with fans this Sunday, December 12. They will be able to get up close to their idol for signed autographs.
On Friday, December 17, Rafa will face the winner of the previous match between Dominic Thiem and Andy Murray in the semi-finals. The winner of this game, which takes place at the International Tennis Centre at Zayed Sports City, will pocket just over 250,000 dollars.
The Abu Dhabi event is Rafa’s first step towards the Australian Open, which begins in Melbourne on January 17. Nadal has already withdrawn from the ATP Cup, which starts on January 1 in Sydney, where Spain will be represented by Roberto Bautista and Pablo Carreño. Let’s hope the light at the end of the tunnel stays ignited for Rafa!
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