By Ros Satar
- Former four-time champions Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic headline the 12th edition and once more the exhibition will also feature a women’s match
- Daniil Medvedev wins in the controversial Diriyah Tennis Cup in Riyadh but pulls out of the established exhibition in Abu Dhabi
- Maria Sharapova makes Mubadala her first stop on her exho circuit before heading to the Hawaii Open
ABU DHABI – The Mubadala World Tennis Championships has long been seen as the unofficial start of the new season, as it returns for its 12th edition – with some competition along the way.
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Who is Playing?
World No. 1 Rafael Nadal and World No. 2 Novak Djokovic will effectively start their 2020 preparations at what has long been established as a season opener for many of the top ATP players. The pair have four titles each and have continued to delight fans in the region as the Mubadala World Tennis Championship has grown in its previous editions.
The full men’s line-up is:
- Rafael Nadal (Four-time champion)
- Novak Djokovic (Four-time champion)
- Stefanos Tsitsipas (Debut)
- Karen Khachanov (Made MWTC debut in 2018)
- Andrey Rublev (Made MWTC debut in 2017)
- Hyeon Chung (Made debut in 2019, returning for second edition in a row)
When is it and where can you watch it?
The Mubadala World Tennis Championships will take place between December 19-21 December. The tournament was normally the post-Christmas signal that the 2020 season was right around the corner, but with the ATP Cup looming on the horizon, it has been brought forward to pre-Christmas, shortening the off-season quite considerably, especially when you consider the Russian heroics of Rublev and Khachanov keeping the Davis Cup hopes of the team going solely on their shoulders, just a month ago.
Unfortunately it will not be on a terrestrial or cable services this year.
So who had to drop out?
Although Daniil Medvedev was also scheduled to appear, he has pulled out after claiming the Diriyah Tennis Cup in Saudi Arabia’s first tennis tournament. Many will remember this exhibition was set to go ahead last year with Djokovic and Nadal, but came under a lot of scrutiny, especially given Saudi Arabia’s poor human rights record, and ultimately Nadal pulled out with injury.
This year the tournament returned with a larger cast of: Medvedev, David Goffin, Stan Wawrinka, John Isner, Gael Monfils and Lucas Pouille. Monfils has also had to withdraw from the Abu Dhabi tournament.
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Are there any more exhibitions we should know about?
The Hawaii Open as founded in 2016, and seems to have gathered a little more momentum on its third time out of the gates.
The tournament consists of five men and women and the line-up this year is currently:
While the ATP tour ground to a halt in London, and then some had to pick themselves up again for the Davis Cup Finals week, Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev took on the challenge of a set of exhibitions in South America, with matches played in Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico, before the pressures of having to call off the planned exhibition in Bogota after demonstrations and riots saw a curfew imposed by the government shortly before the match was to be played.
Federer admitted as part of ESPN’s ‘Roger Federer: Everywhere is home’ documentary that he was affected emotionally by having to call off the match, describing himself as ‘emotionally wasted’.
Still… he is off again – having pulled out of the ATP Cup, citing family reasons rather than uprooting the entire clan for a massive jaunt all around Australia, and he will head to Hangzhou once more with Zverev and also joined by the Bryan Brothers for 27-29 December.
The 2020 season begins with the ATP Cup on 3 January and WTA Brisbane on 6 January.
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