Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic discover first opponents of 2019 season

RAFAEL NADAL and Novak Djokovic will kick-start their 2019 campaign at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi.

The exhibition event will take place over three days starting December 27.

Nadal and Djokovic have been seeded in the miniature tournament and will not compete until the semi-finals.

Five of the world’s top ten players are set to fight it out for a lucrative reward in the Middle East.

And world No 2 Nadal is scheduled to return to action for the first time since suffering a knee injury at the US Open.

The Spaniard skipped the end-of-season Paris Masters and ATP Finals to have surgery on a niggling ankle problem.

But he will face the winner of Kevin Anderson vs Hyeon Chung in his opening tie.

Rafael Nadal has not competed since suffering a knee injury at the US Open (Image: GETTY)


Meanwhile, world No 1 Djokovic will take on either Dominic Thiem or Karen Khachanov.

The Serbian will be looking for an instant response after losing the ATP Finals title decider to Alexander Zverev in his last outing.

Nadal and Djokovic were due to compete in another exhibition match in Saudi Arabia on December 22.

But the Wimbledon and US Open winner confirmed the controversial clash was cancelled a fortnight ago.

"Yes, it is not happening," Djokovic said.

"Yes [because Nadal is injured].”

Novak Djokovic lost the ATP Finals final last time out (Image: GETTY)


Mubadala World Tennis Championship schedule

Dec 27:

Kevin Anderson vs Hyeon Chung

Dominic Thiem vs Karen Khachanov

Dec 28:

Fifth place play-off

Rafael Nadal vs Anderson/Chung

Novak Djokovic vs Thiem/Khachanov

Dec 29:

Third place play-off


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