Nadal rusty in exo but passes important fitness test

Published by AAP

Rafael Nadal; Getty Images
World No.1 Rafael Nadal lost his first match of 2018 but passed an important Australian Open fitness test

Rafael Nadal confirmed himself a certain Australian Open starter after making a rusty return to the court at the Kooyong Classic.

The world No.1 played just his second match in almost three months, losing to veteran Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-4 7-5 in their exhibition outing in Melbourne on Tuesday.

But more importantly, the Spaniard looked to be moving freely on his troublesome knee.

“It was a good test for me and good practice,” Nadal said.

“I’m good and I am here so that’s good news and my idea is just to keep practising the next couple of days to be ready for the beginning of the Australian Open.”

Nadal hadn’t played since withdrawing from the ATP Tour Finals in mid-November after an opening three-set loss to David Goffin. His next match will be a Tie Break Tens exhibition event on Margaret Court Arena 7:30 pm AEDT.

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