Rafael Nadal ended his 2016 season early following the US Open earlier this year (he had an injury). However, even though the ATP season is over Nadal is expected to squeeze an event into the calendar year still. His name is listed among the six entrants that are expected to contest the Abu Dhabi event between December 29th and December 31st. One other player that will be in the event is Milos Raonic.

Milos Raonic recently parted ways with Moya

Raonic finished the season as the World No. 3, a very-high ranking for the Canadian. That made it a little strange that he would part ways with his coach Carlos Moya.

However, the Canadian made that choice a few days ago as he looks at protecting a lot of ranking points in January.

December's Abu Dhabi event is not a tour event and accordingly there will be no ranking points. Raonic and Nadal, after contesting the exhibition invitational, will then head to Australia as each are a part of the ATP Brisbane 2017 players list. That is an event that offers a small amount of ranking points with 250 going to the champion. Raonic won the tournament last season ahead of making a deep run at the Australian Open. He'll need a title again in Brisbane if the Canadian is to avoid a ranking-points loss at what will be his opening event of the 2017 season. However, the main ranking-points defense that will challenge Raonic is at Melbourne Park.

He will need to make at least the semifinal round or else he will lose some of the 720 ranking points he earned in 2016.

Ranking implications for Raonic, Nadal

Where Raonic has a substantial amount of points to defend in January, Nadal can target it as a month where he can make some major gains. The Spaniard did not have an amazing January last year as he made the Doha final before crashing out in the first round of the 2016 Australian Open.

Both events totaled, he earned just 160 points last January. He could surpass that points total with a title is Brisbane or with a run to the fourth round of the Aussie. Should he accomplish both then, depending on how those ranked around him do, it may see him improve his ranking before the start of Indian Wells and Miami.

Currently, Nadal is the World No. 9, a ranking that he will certainly want to work on during the 2017 season.

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