Dec 242017
 

MADRID: Rafa Nadal has withdrawn from next week’s season-opening exhibition event in Abu Dhabi due to ongoing fitness problems, the world number one has said.

The 16-time grand slam champion, who won the French and US Opens earlier this year, withdrew from the ATP Finals in November after struggling with a knee injury during his round-robin defeat by Belgian David Goffin.

The 31-year-old Spaniard, who has previously played at the tournament on eight occasions, will be replaced by compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut.“It was a tough 2017 and I need to take my calendar in a different way in order to be ready,” Nadal told the Mubadala World Tennis Championships website.

“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the organisers and now to you fans that I won’t play this time in Abu Dhabi.”Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic have also withdrawn from the tournament, which is held from December 28-30.The Australian Open, the first major of the new season, begins on January 15.

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