ABU DHABI, December 28, 2018
The final of the 2018 Mubadala World Tennis Championship (MWCT) is set, as World No. 1 Novak Djokovic will take on defending champion Kevin Anderson on Saturday evening in Abu Dhabi.
Anderson fought past Rafael Nadal, who returned to the courts for the first time since the US Open, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 50 minutes.
“I played a good match today. I was competitve against a good player. I am happy for that,” Nadal said at the beginning of his press conference.
“When you are out since long time ago, I had the surgery a little over a month ago, it’s normal that I have some pains. Being honest, I’m satisfied the way I was playing tennis. I am more or less satisfied with how the body held,” the Spaniard said and added that he will not play the 3rd place play-off encounter on Saturday afternoon.
— TennisTourTalk (@TennisTourTalk) 28. Dezember 2018
“I will take a couple of days off. The season has just started for me, it was a goal to be here. I spent more time on the court than I thought,” Nadal explained.
“I suffered a lot in terms of injury. I don’t want to suffer more, I want to make the things the right way, step by step and that’s it. My goal is trying to be ready for the Australian Open and I think I’m on the way to make that happen but of course I can’t take a lot of risk being the first match.”
— Florian Heer (@Florian_Heer) 28. Dezember 2018
Nadal’s next tournament will be the Brisbane Internation to start the official ATP-Tour season 2019 down under. “My goal is to be there and play there. Being honest, that’s my plan.”
Later in the evening, Djokovic showed an impressive performance by beating Karen Khachanov 6-4, 6-3. “I’m very pleased with the way I played. This is a great lead-up to tomorrow and Doha,” the 31-year-old Serbian said.