ATP Tour

Nadal, Djokovic to test injuries at Kooyong

2018-01-08 07:08
Rafael Nadal (Getty)

Melbourne - Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will use the Kooyong Classic starting on Tuesday as a convenient emergency stop to gain much-needed match practice as the pair return from injury in time for the Australian Open. 

Not since the glory days of Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras nearly two decades ago and more recently Roger Federer, has the long-time exhibition event hosted as distinguished a field. 

The upcoming edition will feature five of the world's top 10, including ATP Finals runner-up and two-time Kooyong champion David Goffin, Austrian Dominic Thiem, Croat Marin Cilic and Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta. 

Under the ad-hoc rules, late additions Nadal and Djokovic will be playing practice matches.

World number one Nadal, who missed the warm-up Brisbane International last week with a knee injury, is set for just one appearance on Tuesday when he faces France's Richard Gasquet. 

Djokovic, who hasn't played competitively since a right elbow problem forced him to quit Wimbledon in the quarter-finals in July, is due on court on Wednesday to play Thiem. 

"The addition of both Novak and Rafa changes our schedule and the way we will run the four days but that's what Kooyong is all about, we are here to help the players get ready for the Open," said tournament director Peter Johnston. 

The women's draw, now into a second season after being introduced in 2017, includes new Hopman Cup champion Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, German Andrea Petkovic, Aussie teen Destanee Aiava and young Chinese star Wang Xinyu. 

Pat Cash, the 1987 Australian Open winner who now coaches American CoCo Vandeweghe, serves as official ambassador for the event and said it would be good preparation for Djokovic and Nadal. 

"Everyone will be watching Rafa's legs and Novak's arm," he said. 

"It can make for a very exciting week of tennis. Both guys had good preparation, they just suffered setbacks. But when those come within a couple of weeks from the Australian Open, it's a bit of a worry. 

"They have to be absolutely ready, players can be quite anxious about it all." 

The first day of play features four matches, with Nadal against Gasquet, Goffin facing Carreno Busta and wayward Australian Bernard Tomic taking on Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka.

Among the women, young Australian Aiava plays Petkovic.

NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Vote

Which is your favourite Grand Slam of the year?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.