Rafael Nadal is set to make his return to action at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in December.

The Spaniard was forced to withdraw from the season-ending ATP Finals due to abdominal problems and has since undergone surgery on a persistent ankle injury.

However, the 17-time grand slam champion will be back in action before the end of 2018 after confirming his participation in the exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi, which runs from December 27-29.

He will join Novak Djokovic, who took over from Nadal as world number one after the latter pulled out of the Paris Masters last month, and defending champion Kevin Anderson in a six-man field.

"Abu Dhabi is one of my favourite places to play, the climate, atmosphere and enthusiasm from the crowds at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship provides the perfect start to the new season," Nadal said in a statement.

"The tournament brings together players at the top of their game; we all relish playing in these extremely competitive matches."

Nadal revealed last week via Twitter that the operation to remove a "free body" in his ankle went well, though the procedure forced him to delay an exhibition match in Mallorca to help those affected by the floods in October.