Nadal still upbeat after preparation loss

Rafael Nadal was defeated in an exhibition match, but revealed that it is all part of the preparation for the Australian Open.

The world number one featured in an exhibition match against Richard Gasquet, with the Frenchman defeating him 6-4, 7-5 at the Kooyong Classic on Tuesday.

It was Nadal’s first match since withdrawing from the year-end ATP World Tour finals in November due to knee issues. While he went down in straight sets to the fit Gasquet, Nadal considered the outing a success.

“It was a good test for me and good practice,” the 16-time grand slam winner told The Guardian.

“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.

“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.”

Nadal will also feature in the upcoming Tie Break Tens as preparation for the Melbourne showcase.

The draw for the 2018 Australian Open takes place on Thursday, with the action officially kicking off on Monday.