Nadal to play in Abu Dhabi at end of December

HAROLD HECKLE
Last updated 06:41 12/12/2012
Rafael Nadal
Reuters
RAFAEL NADAL: Says he will play his first tournament in six months in Abu Dhabi at the end of December.

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Rafael Nadal is ready to return to competitive tennis, confirming that he'll play in an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi at the end of the month following a six-month break to recover from a knee injury.

"Can't wait to get back on court in Abu Dhabi at the end of the month," the 11-time Grand Slam champion said on his Facebook page and Twitter account. "I won the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in 2010 and 2011 - would love to get my hands on the trophy again this year!"

The 26-year-old Nadal began practicing on a court in his hometown of Manacor on the island of Mallorca on November 20 under the supervision of his uncle and coach Tony Nadal and a physiotherapist.

The Abu Dhabi tournament starts December 27 and will feature a six-man field that also includes top-ranked Novak Djokovic and No 3 Andy Murray of Britain.

While Nadal had long been scheduled to play in the event, he was cautious in a radio interview last week about how quickly he could return to full fitness after such a long layoff.

Nadal has not played since a stunning second-round loss to then 100th-ranked Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon in June due to the partial tear of a tendon in his left knee.

The injury denied Nadal an opportunity to defend the Olympic singles gold at the London Games and forced him to pull out of the US Open and Spain's Davis Cup final against the Czech Republic, which his teammates lost without him last month.

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- AP

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