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Rafael Nadal returns to action ahead of Australian Open, puts injury concerns to rest

  • Rafael Nadal seemed to be moving well on the court showing positive signs of recovery from his knee injury.
Varun Chhabra
Modified 10 Jan 2018, 10:49 IST

2018 Kooyong Classic - Day 1
Rafael Nadal exchange pleasantries with Richard Gasquet after the match

World No.1 Rafael Nadal lost to Richard Gasquet 6-4 7-5 at the Top Tens Tie Break exhibition match held in Kooyong, Melbourne on Tuesday.

The Spaniard had called off his 2017 season due to a knee injury after playing his last match at the ATP Finals.

So the Top Tens Tie Break exhibition match was Nadal's first match of the 2018 season. Though he was rusty and made more errors than he normally does, the Spaniard seemed to be moving well on the court showing positive signs of recovery from his knee injury.

"It was a good test for me and good practice," Nadal said in an interview after his match

"I'm good and I am here so that's good news, and my idea is just to keep practicing the next couple of days to be ready for the beginning of the Australian Open."

The 31-year-old was far from his best against Gasquet and played a few erratic forehands in the heavy wind conditions at Kooyong. But by playing this match he has been able to make himself a contender for the upcoming Australian Open.

"It was a long year last year so I started my preparation a little bit later than usual," Nadal said. "It's good to start having the feelings of playing a match even if it's not official."

Last year Nadal lost to his arch rival Roger Federer in an epic final at the Australian Open. This year he would again try to capture the crown which has eluded him since 2009 despite reaching the finals in 2012, 2014 and 2017.

He will round off his preparation for AO 2018 in the upcoming Tie Break Tens event in Melbourne where he will be joined by the likes of Novak Djokovic, Nick Kygrios and Stan Wawrinka.

Published 10 Jan 2018, 10:39 IST
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