Rafael Nadal cut his season short back in October after he suffered an early-round loss to Viktor Troicki at the Shanghai Masters. Since then its been rehab and preparing for 2017's ATP season, including the upcoming 2017 Australian Open. However, the Spaniard does have some tennis to play in the 2016 calendar year still. Nadal will face Tomas Berdych on Thursday at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships, an exhibition tournament.

Nadal dominates their head-to-head

The two veterans know each other's game quite well. The biggest match in their history is the 2010 Wimbledon final, a match that Nadal won in straight sets.

The Spaniard is 19-4 in head-to-heads overall, with three of those losses coming way back in 2005 and 2006. Berdych halted a huge losing streak to Nadal at the 2015 Australian Open, however the Spaniard has since avenged that loss.

If the head-to-head series is taken at face value than Nadal is certainly the heavy favorite heading into the match. However, the Spaniard is the one with the recent injury trouble and that should legitimately cause many to question if he will be close to the best tennis that he is capable of at this point in his career. Berdych himself did not enjoy the absolute best season in 2016 as he slid down to a year-end ranking of World No. 10. He missed the tour finals, he suffered a late-season loss to a player ranked outside of the Top 100, and Berdych had two other late-season losses to players outside of the Top 30.

Now aged 31, where Berdych is at regarding his playing level certainly is not clear. Both he and Nadal are interesting players to watch as each is capable of major damage if playing close to their bests.

Andy Murray also in the tournament

The Mubadala World Tennis Championships is an exhibition event, however it does generally feature strong tennis.

Other players that will play on Thursday are David Goffin and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Andy Murray and Milos Raonic are also in the field of players, two players currently in the ATP's top three. All of these players will be looking to use the exhibition tournament to shake off the off-season rust as they prepare for the 2017 Australian Open.

That tournament starts on January 16th with Murray, the current World No. 1, the favorite.

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