Rafael Nadal ends 2016 with win

World No. 9 Rafael Nadal warmed up for the new season with victory at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition event in Abu Dhabi.

Our champ beat David Goffin 6-4, 7-6(5) to pick up his fourth title at the Zayed Sports City’s International Tennis Centre.

A scorching forehand winner secured the first set for Rafa after both men had picked up breaks in the opening exchanges but Goffin ensured it would not be all plain sailing.

The Belgian broke twice at the start of the second set to lead 3-1, only for Rafa to up his level and round out the win in just under two hours.

After the match, Rafa said:

When you have success many times here is so special. I’m very excited to start a new season playing at this level last three days.

Rafa will now go to Brisbane for the first ATP event of the season where he faces world No. 62 Alexandr Dolgopolov in the first round.

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27 thoughts on “Rafael Nadal ends 2016 with win

  1. Tim Ruffin

    I like how Rafa manages to leave himself a points margin every year so even if he gets injured he never really drops out of the top 10. I like his chances against anyone in 2017, especially for the second half of the year. Of he ‘s healthy he is good enough to win at least one slam. I know that I must seem crazy to you lol, Im the same Tim Ruffin who told people back in 2009 when he was at 6 slams but a bad knee injury that he would not only take over Federer completely but that he’d play maybe to age 31 and won prob win 12-14 Majors. I told ppl he’d win the US Open at least twice. Check the BR archives. I got death threats from Federer fans lol. I had to leave, but was I right? Rafa is actually a little better off physically than I thought he’d be. He is gonna lose matches now that he’s older, but the talent gap between the big four and even the youngsters coming up is too great. Andre Agassi was world #1 at age 33. Sampras won his last Major as a 17 seed (isn’t that Federer’s ranking now?) thumping the young top ten guys along the way. Rafa can win the Australian and probably the French or US, realistically one maybe two of those. Djokovic is on the verge of burnout, but 12 Majors is about double what I imagined his talent could take him. I’m still pondering how that happened. But mentally I think he’s fried. Murray has finally done it all. Though, he’s gotta get closer to 5 or 6 Slams to get to where I think he belongs in history. The point is, Djokovic is the one guy who can match Nadal at his best and beat him on certain surfaces. Nadal I think beats him at the French or US at his best. It’s still about those two, and I still think Nadal can summon absolute best for 5-7 matches a year during the right times and you’d be shocked at where he’ll end up ranked.

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    1. Margo

      Rafa manages to stay in the top ten because even when injured he refuses to rest. I was in agony when he decided to play in the Olympics.
      Provided he stays healthy, I too am optimistic about 2017. When I first saw him I knew he was someone very special.
      I am not a Nole fan, but he got his 12 the same way Rafa got his 14, and the same way Roger got his 17. He won them. So you can stop “pondering.” LOL
      As far as being “on the verge of burnout,” and being “mentally fried,” that’s debatable. If Rafa can get his mental edge back, he will beat Nole on ANY surface.
      It would not shock me if Rafa winds up in the top three by year’s end. I know what he is still capable of. Injury free he can do it.
      Maybe it will be between these two, maybe not.
      Champions make history. Rafa is a champion. I think he hasn’t finished making history.

      RAFA ROCKS

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  2. Margo

    I just participated in a straw poll. The question was, “Who will win Brisbane?”(Drum roll…)
    And the winner is…..Rafael Nadal (55%)
    Kei Nishikori is runner up (14%)

    The remaining 31% is divided among seven other tennis participants.

    Rafa still has his magic, on court and off.

    RAFA MAGIC MAN

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  3. Rafantastic

    Congratulations sweet Rafa on your great win and comeback 🎾💪🏼🏆😊😘
    All the best for 2017 champ 👍🏻👑😃🍀❤

    VAMOS!

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  4. Rafa will have little time to unwind before he plays in Brisbane. He does not have a bye which surprises me as he is going in as the No. 5 seed. There will be no rest for him the moment he arrives – fans, the press, sponsors – they will all want their piece of him. It’s understandable because of his popularity, and also his own generous good nature, but I do hope he will not be too tired for his match will Dolpo. In any case I will be here supporting him as always and being like the proverbial mother hen protecting her chick in hoping people will just realise his tight schedule and give him some time to himself before he plays.
    Vamos, Rafa.

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    1. Margo

      I think there are only four byes available in a 250-point tournament, or at least this one. I hope this helps.

      It seems that the smaller the number of players in a tournament, fewer byes are allotted. However, some tournaments have no byes.

      RAFA ROCKS

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    2. Margo

      Ggeezzz, you are so right. The good news is that he is not on today’s
      (Jan. 1) play schedule so he won’t be playing until January 2, at the earliest. Reports are he left right after the tournament so I figure he got some sleep during the 13-hour flight.

      RAFA ROCKS

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  5. va4favre

    I was only able to watch the highlights, but there is much to like. Yes, it was an exhibition, but the players took it seriously. Rafa looked a little tired today, but after not playing for a while, it was to be expected. Goffin played at a high level and really wanted this title. May I just add that Rafa’s hair is looking good even though the full effect is months away.

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    1. Margo

      I was not able to watch but I stayed glued to Scoreboard. The first set went fine. In the second set when Rafa was down 1-3, I said uh oh. Then suddenly Rafa went from 1-3 to 4-3. It went so fast. Then David evened it out at 4-4. 4-4 forever. Then they both were at 5-5, then 6-6. Holy guacamole.
      I hope he gets enough rest to be energized for Brisbane. He should have an easier time with Dolgo, but then he has Zverev, and next possibly Raonic.

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  6. Maria (England)

    Maria (Serbia) welcome back I wondered how long it would be before you made an appearance , bit disappointed with your new name though I thought with such a long absence you could have come up with something a bit more original but never mind Hmnnnn…… Like the new positive you .
    Let’s hope it last but will see Hmnnnn………

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  7. Maria (Siberia)

    Fantastic performance from our beloved Rafa.
    It was Rafa all the way and the match went according to my prediction yesterday when I said the only way for Rafa to win the match is to be aggressive, aggressive and aggresive!!!
    And that’s exactly what Rafa did.

    Goodluck to you as you move onto Brisbane….and I don’t see anybody in the field capable of stopping you when you play your aggressive tennis….yes, not even good, old Andy (who used to be your whipping boy).

    Oh, how happy I am for this victory as I wish the Deep Thinker, Nostradamus, The Prophet Speaks, the amazing Dr. Who and all the other true Rafa faithfuls were all here to share in this special victory.

    We all miss you, guys as we pray for a Rafa victory in Brisbane……

    But as always we’ll see……Hmnnn…

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  8. Margo

    So pleased for Rafa ending 2016 on a high after his heartbreaking withdrawal from the FO.
    You are a winner Rafa because of your positive attitude and your fighting spirit.
    All the best to you in 2017.

    RAFA ROCKS

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  9. Géraldine Muller

    Félicitations à rafa et quel bonheur de le voir jouer au niveau qui est le sien c est de bon augure pr 2017 👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑👑

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  10. Congratulations, Rafa! Great way to go out in 2016 with a victory! “Begin Again” will
    ring true in 2017. So looking forward to Rafa in competition also with his invigorated team with the addition of Carlos.

    Wishing Rafa, team and family a happy new year! A triple “vamos” to Rafa and all his
    loyal fans as well!

    Like

  11. luckydoggy

    Yes! Vamos Rafa! So glad he beats Goffin who is playing very well here. I like Rafa’s intensity but I feel he can play better by moving forward more so that he doesn’t need to cover so much court. Good start for the new year.

    Like

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