The world no. 1 has withdrawn from the Mubadala World Tennis Championship and would be replaced by Roberto Baustista Agut for the 10th staging of the tournament in Abu Dhabi from December 28-30.
The Spanish maestro on making the announcement, said the demands of his 2017 schedule, where he won two grand slam titles at the French Open and the US Open and returned to the top of the rankings had meant he needed more time to recover for 2018 then he had first expected.
“I am very sorry and disappointed to announce that I won’t be competing this year at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship,” Nadal said in a statement. “This would have been my ninth participation in the tournament where I love to play and marking the beginning of my season.
“It was a tough 2017 and I need to take my calendar in a different way in order to be ready. For this reason, I have sadly announced to the organisers and now to you fans that I won’t play this time in Abu Dhabi.
“I really want to thank them for understanding and I am sending a special warm message to my fans in the UAE and in Abu Dhabi in particular.”
The world no. 1 had won the tournament the past two years, and is the event’s most successful player having lifted the title four times in the past.
With Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic having already pulled out, the rest of the field in Abu Dhabi is now made up of Djokovic, Bautista Agut, Dominic Thiem, Kevin Anderson, Pablo Carreno Busta and Andrey Rublev.