Milos Raonic and Rafael Nadal just met in a non-tour match from the Mubadala Tennis Championships. The result saw Nadal beat Raonic, a nice result for the Spaniard despite the fact that it counts for no ranking points. If the seeds held up at ATP Brisbane 2017, Raonic and Nadal would face one another in the quarterfinals, a round that could feature all of the following matches:

  • (1) Raonic vs (5) Nadal
  • (4) Dominic Thiem vs (7) Grigor Dimitrov
  • (8) David Ferrer vs (3) Kei Nishikori
  • (6) Lucas Pouille vs (2) Stan Wawrinka

The tournament is only a 250-level event, the lowest-tiered tournament that counts toward official records, however the field of talented players that has turned out is impressive.

There isn't a lot of time to prepare for the Australian Open at the start of the year and most players would prefer to take next week off to rest. That certainly is factoring into the competitive field in Brisbane.

Nishikori has to like his draw

Arguably, Kei Nishikori is the player that has picked up the simple draw. He does share a quarter with Ferrer, but the Spaniard is a player losing momentum at this point. I think sharing a semi with Wawrinka and Pouille is better than sharing one with Nadal or Raonic. The entire draw looks like this (picture credit: @BrisbaneTennis on Twitter):

The event is not a large one as it only features 28 players.

The top four seeds get a bye which gives them a bid right into the round of sixteen. Aussies in the tournament include Bernard Tomic, Jordan Thompson, and Sam Groth. Tomic does have a workable draw to the quarters as he faces an aging Ferrer in the first round. If Tomic made the semifinals it would require an upset to Nishikori somewhere along the way.

Nadal may be tired

The tournament is scheduled to start on January 1st with a final on the 7th. If Nadal's win over Raonic is an indicator than the Spaniard may very well be the favorite in the tournament. However, he played on Thursday, Friday, and he will play on Saturday in Abu Dhabi. Afterward he has to travel to Brisbane which will make him one tired player.

The bye definitely works in his favor, however, Nadal might be a withdrawal risk here if he decides that three matches is enough of a prep at this point, or if something is bothering him after his efforts in Abu Dhabi.

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