Updated 12:21 AM EDT, Sun, Jun 24, 2018

Rafael Nadal News: Rafa Ready For War at Qatar Open; Claims No.1 Seed

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World's no.1 Rafael Nadal claimed the top seed for the ATP Tour season-opening Qatar Open at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha, Qatar.

Coming off one of the best comebacks of all time, Nadal will attempt to sustain his strong run next year despite facing several elite contenders led by former world's no.1 Novak Djokovic, reigning Wimbledon Open champion Andy Murray and 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer.

Nadal, who missed seven months because of a nagging knee injury last year, will open the year healthier than ever, and this time, he sets his sight on the elusive Australian Open title.

Despite already winning 13 Grand Slam championships, the Spaniard only won the Australian Open only once in his career, and that happened five years ago when he edged Federer in an epic five-set final at the 2009 Aussie Open.

Rusty Nadal?

Before plunging into the new season, Nadal participated at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. Unfortunately for the Mallorcan Bull, he succumbed to his compatriot David Ferrer in the opening match 6-4, 6-4. It marked the first time Nadal lost to Ferrer since he bowed out to the same man in the 2013 Paris Masters semifinals.

Rafa racked up 10 tournament victories after coming back from injury. However, Nadal faded a bit in the homestretch mark of the season, bowing down to Djokovic in the finals of China Open and the ATP World Tour Finals.

Crowded Tournament

The Qatar Open will mark the start of another competitive ATP Tour season. Nadal is the top seed in this tourney while Ferrer gets the second seed. Andy Murray, who is returning from a back injury, will be the third seed. Veteran netters Richard Gasquet, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Ernests Gulbis, and Fernando Verdasco will also compete for the top prize.

On Monday, former Wimbledon Open finalist Tomas Berdych bowed out in the opening round after losing to Croatia's Ivo Karlovic in two hard-fought sets, 6-7, 6-7.

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