Madrid: World No. 4 Rafael Nadal has confirmed he will return to competitive action at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi at the end of December after six months out with a knee injury.
The 11-time Grand Slam singles champion has not competed since a shock defeat to Czech Lukas Rosol in the second round at Wimbledon in June. The Spaniard was later diagnosed with a partial tear of the patella tendon and an inflammation in his left knee and was unable to defend his Olympic title in London .
He also missed the US Open and the season-ending World Tour championships before returning to the practice court on Nov. 20.
“Can’t wait to get back on court in Abu Dhabi at the end of the month,” the 26-year-old wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday. “I won the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in 2010 and 2011,” he added. “Would love to get my hands on the trophy again this year. Want to win again!”
Nadal is due to play either world number three Andy Murray of Britain or ninth-seeded Serbian Janko Tipsarevic on December 28 at the event in Abu Dhabi, which is not part of the ATP Tour.
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia, fifth-ranked Spaniard David Ferrer and No. 6 Tomas Berdych of Czech Republic are also taking part.
Nadal said this month he was hoping to be back to full fitness in time for the clay season, when he will be chasing an eighth French Open title on his favoured surface after winning a record seventh Roland Garros crown in May.
Meanwhile, Djokovic has beaten Andy Murray to the International Tennis Federation's (ITF) annual men’s World Champion award with American Serena Williams taking the women's prize for a third time.
Djokovic, who ended a second successive year on top of the ATP rankings, successfully defended his Australian Open title, reached the final at the French Open and US Open and claimed five other titles including the season-ending Tour Finals.
Britain’s Murray was a strong contender for the honour after beating Djokovic at the US Open to win his first major title after four losses in finals and claiming Olympic gold at Wimbledon, just weeks after reaching the grand slam final there in which he lost to an inspired Roger Federer.
“I am proud to have been named ITF world champion for the second successive year,” Djokovic said in a statement on Tuesday.
“It was very difficult to follow up such a successful season in 2011, but it was extremely satisfying to win another Grand Slam title, reach two other major finals and finish the year at number one.”