Australian Open 2019: Rafael Nadal’s Poor Start to Season Continues

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Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios defeated Rafael Nadal in their Fast4 encounter on Monday night. The Fast4 format includes shorter sets, tiebreakers at three games all, no advantage scoring. This heavily favoured the big-serving Kyrgios. In the first set, everything seemed to go his way on route to a 4-0 scoreline. This occurred ahead of Australian Open 2019

“I don’t really know what I’m doing. I’m kind of just serving big and hitting big and everything is going in,” Kyrgios said.

Nadal used the hitout in Sydney as a warm-up for the Australian Open, particularly after being forced to pull out of the Brisbane International.

He retired midway through his US Open semi-final with a knee issue and ended his season later in September. Following an ankle surgery in November, he lost his world No.1 ranking to rival Roger Federer.

He lost to South Africa’s Kevin Anderson in a post-Christmas exhibition event in Abu Dhabi. He then pulled out of his third-place playoff match for precautionary reasons.

Australian Open 2019
Rafael Nadal

The injury-plagued Spaniard disappointed fans in Brisbane with his late scratching with a thigh strain. However, he promised to be “100 per cent” for the season’s first grand slam Australian Open 2019, starting in Melbourne next Monday.

Rafael Nadal moved freely throughout his quickfire workout against Kyrgios and offered no complaints, even after being on the end of a rare bagel in the first set.

“The first set was quick. That’s how it works, this Fast4, and especially playing an unbelievable talent, a player like Nick,” said the world No.2.

“(But) I was there. I need to (find) a little bit more rhythm. I think it was a good start for me, a good comeback to the action in front of a fantastic crowd here in Sydney.

“I really enjoyed it a lot, playing tonight here. I’m happy to be back on court and then happy that I’m healthy again.”

The format of the night pitted Team Australia, consisting of Kyrgios and John Millman, against Team World, consisting of Nadal and Canada’s Milos Raonic.

Raonic managed to level the tie, sending it into the doubles finale. The teams split the first two sets resulting in another final tie-breaker. Much like the Hopman Cup, it went down to a decisive final point, with Team World claiming it to win 4-1 1-4 5-4.

Kyrgios, who was also keen for some game time after his second round loss at the Brisbane International to start his season, was pleased with the workout and the chance to get some court time with Nadal.

“He’s a great champion. It’s good to have him back, good to have him healthy and I’d love to see him do well at the Australian Open 2019,” Kyrgios said.

“It’s (Fast4) just a lot of fun even though 85 per cent of the place is going for Rafa, that’s fine.”

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Nick Kyrgios