Monday, January 8, 2018

Nadal and Djokovic to test injuries at Kooyong

Nadal and Djokovic to test injuries at Kooyong

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will use the Kooyong Classic starting 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 David Goffin, Dominic Thiem, Croat Marin Cilic and Pablo Carreno Busta.

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

Nadal is set for just one appearance on Tuesday when he faces 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.

Pat Cash 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.

Article from AFP