Nadal confirms Melbourne start
TENNIS: Rafael Nadal's Australian Open campaign is apparently back on track after the world No.1 agreed to contest the Tie Break Tens event just five days before the first grand slam of the season.
Under an injury cloud with knee soreness, the Spaniard is slated to play in the tens event alongside Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka, Nick Kyrgios and Lleyton Hewitt at Margaret Court Arena on January 10.
"Tie Break Tens is a great concept and we will see and play some exciting matches," Nadal said of an event featuring eight players chasing a $250,000 winner-take-all prize purse.
"The field is fantastic and I expect some tough competition which will be great for the Aussie fans."
Nadal, who withdrew from the Brisbane International and FAST4 in Sydney, hasn't played since the ATP Finals in London in November.
Tie Break Tens first launched in 2015 when Kyle Edmund beat Andy Murray at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
Since then, two further tournaments have been staged in Madrid and Vienna with stars such as Dominic Thiem, Stan Wawrinka, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Grigor Dimitrov, Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep and Johanna Konta taking part.
"These guys are all coming in at different stages of their preparation, but once their competitive instincts kick in, which will be almost instant in this format, there will be some absorbing contests," Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said.
"Remember, there is not much room for error. You lose the tie break and you are out."
Tie Break Tens is an abbreviated tournament which can be completed in a single session. Unlike conventional matches, Tie Break Tens matches are comprised solely of tie breaks.
Djokovic remains in doubt for the Open after withdrawing from an event in Doha and the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi because of elbow soreness.