Rafael Nadal could face Nick Kyrgios after injury return in Australian Open warm-up event

Andy Murray practices ahead of Australian Open

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Tennis ace Rafael Nadal will make his return to the court at the Melbourne Summer Set this week, and he could take on Nick Kyrgios. Nadal has been absent from the ATP Tour since the Washington Open in August, after having his 2021 season plagued by injury, but did play two exhibition matches in Abu Dhabi just before Christmas.

The Spaniard has since tested positive for Covid-19 but is now in Australia, and could well have the tough test of facing local man and bitter foe Kyrgios as he builds up to the Australian Open.

Both Nadal and the Australian have been put onto the same side of the draw at the Summer Set, meaning the warm-up event could well provide a blockbuster match before the Grand Slam action kicks off later this month.

The 20-time Major champion will kick off his comeback against Marcos Giron or a qualifier in the second round, and victory could set up a semi-final against fourth seed David Goffin or Krygios.

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Nadal and Kyrgios last faced off in the 2020 Australian Open, and it was the Spaniard who prevailed in the round of 16 clash thanks to a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 7-6 victory.

The 2009 Aussie Open champion has no doubt dominated Kyrgios in recent times, having won five of their last seven meetings.

Many thought that Nadal’s long-awaited return was once again going to be pushed back, after he tested positive for Covid.

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Following his positive test the 20-time Grand Slam winner said on Twitter: “I wanted to announce that on my return home after playing the Abu Dhabi tournament.

“I have tested positive for Covid in the PCR test that was performed on me when I arrived in Spain.

“Both in Kuwait and Abu Dhabi we passed controls every two days and all were negative, the last being on Friday and having the results on Saturday.

“I am having some unpleasant moments but I hope that I will improve little by little.”

Fears among tennis fans and event organisers then grew even more, when Nadal revealed he now has to have ‘flexibility’ with his calendar ahead of the upcoming events down under in January.

He commented: “I am now homebound and have reported the result to those who have been in contact with me.

“As a consequence of the situation, I have to have total flexibility with my calendar and I will analyse my options depending on my evolution.

“I will keep you informed of any decisions about my future tournaments! Thank you all in advance for your support and understanding.”

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