Rafael NadalSpaniard Rafael Nadal defeated Belgium’s David Goffin 6-4 and 7-6 (5) in the final of the Abu Dhabi exhibition tournament on Saturday, earning his fourth title in the United Arab Emirates capital.

Nadal, a former world No. 1 player who has fallen to ninth place in the ATP, needed two hours to overcome a rival that made it difficult, even though he looked dominating throughout the match.

Rested and looking stronger than last season, the Spaniard is full of confidence and positivism. He’s currently moving on the court with much more speed, energy and consistency, which augurs a promising start to the 2017 season.

With this victory, Nadal becomes the most dominating player of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship since it started in 2009. So far, Nadal has won four of its nine editions and the last two. This is the second time that nadal wins back-to-back titles in this competition with the previous occasion coming in 2009 and 2010.

The Spaniard will now play the Brisbane International, while world number one Andy Murray, who lost to the Belgian in the semi-finals on Friday, will travel to play the Doha Open in Qatar to officially open the ATP season, two weeks before the start of the Australian Open.

The Abu Dhabi tournament is not an official competition and does not award points for the ATP professional circuit. It serves as the unofficial opening of the season and as preparation for the first major of the season, the Australian Open (January 16-29 in Melbourne).

Andy Murray world’s number one ranked player told the media that 2017 is a year in which he expects to see Nadal and swiss Roger Roger Federer (16) having strong comeback seasons.

Murray, champion of the Qatar open in 2008 and 2009, is looking for his third victory in Doha.

One of the top candidates to win at the Australian Open, besides Nadal and Murray, is Serbian Novak Djokovic, who will also participate in the Qatari tournament and who has won the Australian Open six times


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