Nicolas Almagro will replace Rafael Nadal in the field for this week’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition event. The world number 11 has agreed to fill in for Nadal, who has been ruled out of the Abu Dhabi event due to a stomach virus. Almagro takes Nadal’s place in the draw, meaning his first match will be a semi-final on Friday (December 28) against either Andy Murray or Janko Tipsarevic. Almagro said: “No matter where, when or who I play, I play to win and that will be my approach come match time whether it’s Murray or Tipsarevic. They are both tremendous players and I will need to be at my best.” He added: “This championship has gained the reputation of being one of the elite events in the region and I am excited to be able to join such a great group of players here in Abu Dhabi. This already has the feel of a Grand Slam quarter-final and will be great preparation for the upcoming season.” World number one Novak Djokovic heads the field in Abu Dhabi, where he is the defending champion. He will face either David Ferrer or Tomas Berdych in the other semi-final. The first round matches of the new season’s opening event take place on Thursday.