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Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Fitness questions raised over leading stars ahead of Australian Open

Fitness questions raised over leading stars ahead of Australian Open

World number one Rafael Nadal lost his first match of the year 6-4, 7-5 to Richard Gasquet at the Kooyong Classic on Tuesday, but said he was happy after his troublesome knee held up "fine".

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Has not pulled out yet but is using exhibition matches to decide whether his injured elbow is up to the rigors of a two-week tournament.

"I just have to pace myself all the way up to the tournament in Melbourne, and I'll be ready", he said after his Hopman Cup final victory with Switzerland teammate Belinda Bencic.

Although Djokovic said he was delighted with his performance, especially his serve, he acknowledged that he was still not in ideal shape.

Nadal is all set to play against Serbia's Novak Djokovic, world No. 14, at the Tie Break Tens in Melbourne, where matches are going to consist of tie-breaks only, with no games and no sets.

Has any grand-slam build-up stood more at the mercy of torn muscles, ligaments and tendons?

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal continued his preparations for the Australian Open yesterday with a surprise practice match against Austrian Dominic Thiem.

"With that being said, and even though I am disappointed about it, I've decided not to compete in the Australian Open this year".

There's only three days to go until the first Grand Slam of the 2018 begins and the betting in the Australian Open women's draw is wide open.

Having not featured in a competitive match since he withdrew from the World Tour Finals in November with a knee injury, Nadal was clearly keen to shake off the rust before his first-round match against Dominican Victor Estrella Burgos.

The year's first Grand Slam has been hit by big-name withdrawals with the possibility of more...

More significant records tumbled when he beat compatriot Stan Wawrinka to become the oldest man to reach a Grand Slam final since Ken Rosewall made the 1974 US Open final at the age of 39.

"It's not always the best when you are an athlete so I'm looking forward to it, enjoying the crowd. Roger is the quintessential superstar ballet player that happens to play tennis - it all looks easy, but there's so much work that goes behind it to make those motor skills able to execute under pressure for long periods of time".

She said that while she was pleased with her recovery and her progress, she was "not where I personally want to be".

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