Rafael Nadal believes he is ready for the pressures of competing in a Grand Slam despite losing his first match of 2017.
Nadal has been battling a knee injury in recent months - the problem forced him to cut his 2016 season short - and there were fears that he would not be fit for the Australian Open when he withdrew from last week's Brisbane International.
The 16-time Grand Slam winner put his knee to the test at the Kooyong Classic on Tuesday, losing in straight sets to Richard Gasquet, but the Spaniard insists he will be ready for the Australian Open, which gets underway in Melbourne on Monday.
“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 has not played since withdrawing from the ATP Tour Finals in mid-November and he was not as his best as he went down in straight sets to Gasquet.
Despite the loss, Nadal was pleased to put his knee to the test and is confident he will be fit to compete at Melbourne Park.
“I’m very happy to be back in Australia. I had a heavy year in 2017 and I started my preparation later than usual," he said.
“But I’ve arrived in plenty of time. It’s great to get the feeling once again of playing a match.
“This was a good test for me after some good training, that’s the most important thing.
“The knee is fine. If I was not feeling good I would not be here, so that’s good news.
“I’ll train hard over the next few days for the Australian Open, I will be ready.”
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