Nadal Raises Australia Open Hopes

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By Nick Howson | December 12, 2012 3:50 AM EST

Rafael Nadal looks set to feature at the 2013 Australia Open after confirming his participation in his first tournament in six months at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi.

Nadal has been out of action since being defeated in the Wimbledon second round by Lukas Rosol, missing his defence of his Olympic singles gold at London 2012 and the US Open with a partially torn patella tendon.

The 11-time grand slam winner also missed the ATP World Tour Finals in London and Spain's Davis Cup final defeat to Czech Republic in November as fears grew surrounding a potential return date for the former world No.1

However, the Spaniard will travel to Abu Dhabi for the six-player three-day exhibition event featuring the likes of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray on 27-29 December.

"Can't wait to get back on court in Abu Dhabi at the end of the month," Nadal wrote on Facebook. "I won the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in 2010 and 2011 - would love to get my hands on the trophy again this year!"

Last week, the 26 year old's return date was shrouded in uncertainty after he targeted April's Monte Carlo Masters and the following month's French Open as he downplayed a possible tilt at the first grand slam of the year.

"I want to be 100% in Monte Carlo and then prepare well for Roland Garros," Nadal said. "I will hopefully be ready for Australia but I am only looking at tomorrow and continuing my recovery.

"Miracles do not exist and I am unlikely to return and compete for the Australian Open. The results will not worry me in the first tournaments back.

"We are in the last stage of the recovery and I want to recover as soon as possible but I will not rush back and then have to stop again in six months or a year's time."

Having slipped to No.4 in the world behind Roger Federer and Murray, Nadal will be keen to return to his sumptuous best, however concerns remain over his participation in much of the hard court season as well as his long-term future in the sport.

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