Australian Open avoid ‘disaster’ thanks to Rafael Nadal despite Novak Djokovic uncertainty

Rafael Nadal has confirmed he will take his place at this month’s Australian Open as he chases a record 20th Grand Slam. Nadal could be the only player of the so-called big three to line-up at the tournament, with Roger Federer ruled out with a knee injury and Novak Djokovic’s place in Melbourne yet to be confirmed.

Nadal’s appearance in Australia is certainly good news for tennis fans across the world.

And last week Australian player Nick Kyrgios admitted it would be an ‘absolute disaster’ if none of the big three were present at the first Grand Slam of the year.

“If all three aren’t there, it’s a disaster,” said the 26-year-old. “It’s an absolute disaster for the fans and the people that enjoy tennis.

“I honestly don’t know Novak’s current situation with anything Covid-related or what he needs to play.

“I hope he’s had a good Christmas and I hope he’s able to play in the sport for as long as possible because I’ve voiced before I think Federer, Nadal and Djokovic need to be [playing].

JUST IN: Australian Open chief offers new update on Novak Djokovic playing Grand Slam this month

“Yes, it’s obviously a good opportunity for some of the younger guys to come through and make an impact but, as a whole, we do need them to be part of the sport.”

Nadal took to Twitter at the end of last week to post a picture of himself inside the Rod Laver Arena to show his presence in Australia.

“Don’t tell anyone,” he wrote next to a shushing face emoji. “Here I am.” The cheeky post was ended with a winking face emoji.

Nadal had been a doubt to appear at the tournament after testing positive for COVID-19 last month.

Djokovic has won the last three Australian Opens, with his last defeat at the tournament coming in 2018 as he was remarkably dumped out in the fourth round by the unseeded Hyeon Chung.

The Serbian has been in stellar form recently and lost just one Grand Slam match last year as he won the French Open and Wimbledon before going down in the final at the US Open.

Nadal, meanwhile, will be chasing his first Grand Slam trophy in Melbourne since he won the French Open in 2020.

The 35-year-old’s only other success at the tournament came when he won it in 2009.

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