As the Mubadala World Tennis Championship (MWTC) returns to Abu Dhabi this month, we’re taking a look back at some of the best matches and most memorable moments in the history of the tournament. In the last of three instalments we’re taking a trip down memory lane to relive Rafael Nadal’s 2016 victory over David Goffin.
Rafael Nadal went into the December edition of the 2016 MWTC having won the event in January of the same year. It was a tough period for the Spaniard who ended his competitive season in October to nurse a nagging wrist injury, which needed a prolonged break to fully recover.
The final was highly anticipated as Goffin found himself in fine form throughout the tournament, having defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Andy Murray en route to the final. Wins for Nadal against world number 10 Tomas Berdych and world number three, Milos Raonic secured his spot, which was watched by a packed crowd in Abu Dhabi.
For the most part, both players held their nerve in the first set, which saw just one break come when in-form Goffin was serving at 4-5. Nadal however was playing well and showed no signs of injury as he fired powerful forehands passed his opponent, and had no problem covering all the court at Zayed Sports City. The set was won with a stunning backhand return, which left the Belgium with no chance.
The high intensity continued into the second set as Goffin struggled to keep up with the quality of Nadal. As the set went on it became more competitive with both players braking serve in what was turning out to be a vastly entertaining encounter. Goffin had no less than four chances to break Nadal’s serve to make the set 6-5, however in typical fashion the Spaniard was able to hold off his foe.
The match needed a tie-break to settle it, Nadal was victorious with a 7-5 win and thus collected his fourth Mubadala title in what was a memorable event in Abu Dhabi. The championship point was won, thanks to an unforced error by Goffin, who hit is forehand long from the back of the court. Gracious in defeat, the then world number 11, spoke to the media after the contest: “He put so much intensity into every shot, he put a lot of pressure on me. You can feel how strong he is when he is in front of you,” the 26-year-old told assembled media after the final.
“I have great feelings. I played great. Three matches against three top players, to win against these kind of players, if you don’t play well it’s impossible,” said Nadal, speaking to reporters after the match. Nadal flew straight to Brisbane following the victory ahead of the first grand slam of the New Year in Melbourne. Elsewhere in the tournament, Andy Murray finished third place after defeating Milos Raonic in straight sets 6-3, 7-6, to round off another tournament.
Nadal is set to return for this year’s MWTC along with stars, Novak Djokovic, Gael Monfils and Maria Sharapova. In a change to previous editions, the 2019 tournament will take place from the 19th– 21stSeptember. Tickets are on sale exclusively at www.ticketmaster.ae and Virgin Megastores across the UAE. For the second year running, day one is Kids’ Day with children 12 and under entering for free with the purchase of an adult ticket by calling 800 86 823 from within the UAE or +971 4 366 2289 from outside the country.
Three-day packages are also available with savings of 20%. Premier Hospitality Packages offer fans courtside seating, exclusive Q&A sessions with a star player and a F&B menu with bar access as well as reserved parking.
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