Officials hope to attract Roger Federer back to the Mubadala World Tennis Championship but Rafa Nadal will play in Abu Dhabi this year. Federer has not played in the event, which used to be a regular fixture on his schedule, since 2011 and has instead started his season in Australia for the last few years.
It had been reported that the 37-year-old stopped playing in the Abu Dhabi event because of his split with IMG in 2013, but Mubadala Championship tournament director Vickie Gunnarsson denies it.
She told Tennis World USA: “Roger Federer is a good friend of IMG. He has always been. He loved playing in Abu Dhabi but it does not fit to his schedule. “Hopefully we will have him back here one day.”
Four-time champion Nadal, who is currently recovering from a foot injury, has confirmed he will be one of the six players to feature at the Abu Dhabi International Tennis Complex in late December.
“Rafa is committed to play in Abu Dhabi,” added Gunnarsson. “He uses this event as a warm-up for the rest of the season. He is on the right track, he will be on court in December. His agent (Carlos Costa) told me that he is committed to play in Abu Dhabi.”
Reigning champion Kevin Anderson and Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic are also slated to play, with Anderson set to meet South Korean starlet Hyeon Chung on day one.