Rafael Nadal ended his prolonged pre-season in the perfect style by defending his Mubadala World Tennis Championship title. The ‘King of Clay’ scored a 6-4, 7-6 victory over David Goffin. Nadal had won the title in 2010,2011,2016 (Jan) before.
Nadal took some time off in October 2016 to focus on fully rehabilitating a left wrist injury. He looked focused throughout the tournament in Abu Dhabi, defeating Tomas Berdych in the quarter-final. Then Milos Raonic in the semis to reach the final.
Before the inception of the tournament, Rafael Nadal had dismissed proposals he could be in his last season given the dismal state of his body.
Nadal said that “I believe that I can compete for important competitions in the next three years”.
Given his performance over the three matches and particularly the damage his forehands took in those duels, it is hard to disagree with Nadal.
However, the Spaniard, 30, was given his unrelenting test in the final by a contender who has become a fan favorite over the week. David Goffin (Belgium), 26, has been in great shape in the tournament, defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and World No.1 Andy Murray en route to his face-off with Nadal.
The only break in of the first set came at the most decisive time when Goffin was serving at 4-5. But the second set saw more ups and down. After two Breaks exchanges, Goffin created four chances to break for 6-5. Nonetheless, typically uneven Nadal was able to hold it.
Rafa will now travel to Australia for the Brisbane International. Nadal will take a whooping US$250,000 from this tournament.