Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are wasting no time to resume their rivalry in 2009, joining four other top-10 ranked players vying for a winner-take-all prize of $250,000 at this week's inaugural Capitala World Tennis Championship.
The three-day exhibition event, which is not part of the ATP Tour, is the first major tennis tournament held at the Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi and also includes Britain's Andy Murray, Russia's Nikolay Davydenko, and Americans Andy Roddick and James Blake.
The eighth-ranked Roddick plays No. 5 Davydenko in Thursday's opener, followed by Murray vs. Blake. Nadal and Federer have been given byes into Friday's semifinals.
The top-ranked Nadal and No. 2 Federer will both begin their 2009 ATP season by playing in the Qatar Open in Doha starting Monday. Murray, the defending champion, and Roddick are also playing in Doha.
Organizers are hoping to make the Capitala tournament an annual event to promote tennis in the region. It was preceded by a number of events in December, including a youth tournament for local players.