Rafael Nadal marked his territory on the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, retaining the title for the second consecutive year and earning his fourth winner's trophy in the tournament's nine-year history. The Spaniard played 11th ranked David Goffin in an electrifying display of tennis that showed the Abu Dhabi and international crowds that he was back.
Thousands of fans descended on the International Tennis Centre at ZSC over the three day tournament, witnessing a total of seven magnificent matches featuring six of the world's best known tennis players. Rafael Nadal played all three days of the tournament for the first time, and put on a sensational show every day in the capital by taking wins from Tomas Berdych, Milos Raonic and finally Goffin. The final was full of firsts, as Belgian David Goffin had never played in the tournament before and never played Nadal in a competitive match either. Goffin also played all three days of the tournament, reaching the final with big wins over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and a jaw-dropping result over top-ranked Andy Murray.
The final was everything fans had hoped it would be and more. Nadal brought his Spanish flavour to the game, while Goffin continued to wow the crowds with his quick reactions and momentum around the court. Nadal made the only break late on in the first set to win it 6-4, after even play from both finalists. The Belgian recovered well at the start of the second set, breaking Nadal's momentum and serve to lead 2-1. Rafael returned the favour, stealing Goffin's serve to tie it back up to 3-3. The set went to a tie-break and both players showed signs of genius in the super set which lasted a lengthy 1 hour 14 minutes. But it was Nadal's persistence and knowledge of the court that won out in the end to take the glassware 7-5.
Four-time Mubadala World Tennis Champion, Rafael Nadal spoke to the crowd after his win: “When you have success this many times here, it's because of something special. You like the court, you like the place and you especially like the crowd – I'm very happy here. It's a great atmosphere and I feel the love of the people. Many thanks to everybody who makes this great event possible each year. Next year is the tenth edition which shows it is special.”
Speaking about his return, he added: “I'm very happy to be back in competition after several months out - I had some problems with my wrist. But it's a new year and I'm very excited. These three days have been great for me - to be back and playing at this level.”
For more information on the tournament visit mubadalawtc.com.