Melbourne, January 7: World number one Rafael Nadal will step up his Australian Open preparations by featuring at the Kooyong Classic in Melbourne.
Nadal has been under an injury cloud for this month's Australian Open after withdrawing from the Brisbane International due to an ongoing knee complaint, however, the 16-time grand slam champion will play a match at Kooyong for the first time on Tuesday (January 9).
The 31-year-old, who lost to Roger Federer in last year's Australian Open final at Melbourne Park, is set to join former world number one Novak Djokovic at the warm-up tournament.
"Rafa was looking for matchplay and of course we were more than happy to oblige," said tournament director Peter Johnston.
"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.
"And of course, in our 30th anniversary edition, it will be amazing to have two of the all-time greats on the famous Kooyong centre court, and that's before we even mention the other names in the top ten we have this year… it's shaping up as a great anniversary edition."
Nadal arrived in Melbourne on Friday (January 5) and emerged injury-free following practice on Rod Laver Arena over the weekend.