(AAP) – Rafael Nadal appears to have passed his Australian Open fitness test with flying colours despite losing his practice match at the Kooyong Classic.
The world No.1 fell to Richard Gasquet 6-4 7-5 in their exhibition match in Melbourne on Tuesday but, more importantly, Rafa looked to be moving freely on his troublesome knee.
It was a good test for me and good practice.
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.
It was a long year last year so I started my preparation a little bit later than usual. It’s good to start having the feelings of playing a match even if it’s not official.
It was Rafa’s first match in almost three months and first since withdrawing from the ATP Tour Finals in mid-November after an opening three-set loss to David Goffin.
He downplayed any concerns about his knee, saying:
If I’m not feeling good, probably I will not be here. So that’s the good news.
Rafa looked rusty with some erratic forehands but it was a big step forward as he targets a second Australian Open title. He trailed Gasquet 3-0 in the second set after going down a double break but clawed his way back to lead 5-4 only to lose his serve again.