Nadal withdraws from exhibition event with Aus Open looming


Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the Mubadala World Tennis Championships as he looks to manage his schedule ahead of the Australian Open.

The exhibition event, to be held between December 28-30 in Abu Dhabi, would have marked the last event of what has been a stellar year for the Spaniard.

Nadal enjoyed something of a renaissance in 2017, claiming the French and US Open titles as well as reaching the final of the Australian Open to return to the ATP rankings summit.

The first major of 2018 gets under way on January 15 and, amid reports he continues to struggle with a knee problem, Nadal has opted for a rest ahead of challenging for a 17th grand slam crown.

"I am very sorry and disappointed to announce that I won't be competing this year at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship," he said, via the event's official website.

"This would have been my ninth participation in the tournament where I love to play and marking the beginning of my season.

"It was a tough 2017 and I need to take my calendar in a different way in order to be ready. 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.

"I really want to thank them for understanding and I am sending a special warm message to my fans in the UAE and in Abu Dhabi in particular."

Nadal's place in Abu Dhabi has been taken by compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut.