10/4/12 9:01 PM | Johan Lindahl
Australian Open organizers appear to have had inside information when they confidently announced that the injured Rafael Nadal would front up for their opening Grand Slam of 2013.
The confirmation of the boast that the Spaniard was unlikely to miss the Melbourne date looks to have been re-confirmed by an announcement from the Gulf.
Organizers at the rich Abu Dhabi New Year exhibition, the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, confirmed that the fourth-ranked Nadal had been signed into the field for the Dec 27-29 event.
The 26-year-old has been recovering from a partially torn patella tendon in his left knee since losing in the Wimbledon second round in late June. Should he front up in the Gulf for a handsome appearance fee, it would be his first (unofficial) competition in six months, almost a lifetime in the current game.
Nadal would be joining world No. 2 Novak Djokovic, US Open winner Andy Murray, and Spain's David Ferrer in the exhibition field.
Nadal has been coy under recent questioning about his return to tennis, saying only that he would not be stepping onto a court until he was fully fit.
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