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Rafael Nadal may have enjoyed one of the best comebacks in the history of tennis but question marks still remain over how long his fragile body can withstand the punishment of the tour. His more aggressive baseline play has helped him reduce the strain on his joints but it remains to be seen whether his knee will hold out enough for him to overtake Roger Federer’s tally of 17 Grand Slam titles.
After missing seven months of the 2012 season, one might have expected Nadal to slim down his schedule this year and focus largely on the Masters tournaments and the Grand Slams, but that has not been the case. There was initially talk of him boycotting some of the hard-court Masters events but his team have revealed that there were never any plans of that sort.
Having such a serious injury seems to have made Nadal yet more determined to rack up as much silverware as possible during his time left on the tour. His immediate goals will be to win the World Tour Finals for the first time (one of the few major crowns he’s yet to win) and claim his second Australian Open title (the only Grand Slam which he’s only won once).
Nadal has revealed that he will begin his 2014 season in Abu Dhabi with the lucrative Mubadala World Championships exhibition tournament which he’s won in the past.
“I’ve been working hard all season and to have won two Grand Slams this year is an amazing feeling. I’m playing good tennis and I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of the season will bring,” he said.
“After the disappointment of last year, I promised my fans in the UAE I would return, so I’m very happy it’s happening so soon and I’m back in the player line-up. This will be my fifth time playing in Abu Dhabi and I’m looking forward to getting back on court there later this year. It’s a great opportunity to test myself, especially just before the start of the new season.”
“I’m sure I’ll face some tough competition but I’m hoping to take the title for a third time and play some great tennis for the Abu Dhabi fans in the process. The atmosphere is always fantastic and will be counting on the crowd’s support to help me win again this year.”