Nadal to make return in Melbourne exhibition meet

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal, who is struggling to get any match practice before the Australian Open, will play an exhibition event at Melbourne Park in the week leading up to the season-opening Grand Slam, organisers said yesterday.

The 31-year-old Spaniard has not played since he withdrew from the season-ending World Tour Finals in London in November with a knee injury.

He had already withdrawn from an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi, this week's Brisbane International and another event in Sydney, citing a lack of time to prepare properly.

However, the 16-time Grand Slam winner will be part of the winner-takes-all Tie Break Tens event at Melbourne Park on Jan 10, five days before the Australian Open begins.

The eight-man field includes Novak Djokovic, three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka, Australia's Nick Kyrgios and ex-world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt.

Each match is comprised solely of super tie-breaks to 10 points. The tournament provides a winner-takes-all purse of US$250,000 (S$334,000). - REUTERS