Rafael Nadal's coach Carlos Moya has said that he expects the Spaniard to be fit for the Australian Open starting on 15 January. However, he warned that his prognosis is based on the assumption that Nadal is not affected by any further setbacks on his knee injury, which saw him pull out of the Brisbane international.

Nadal reached the semi-finals in Brisbane early last year, which served as good preparation for the season's first marquee event, where he excelled but for the finals. The world No1 is not the only high-profile star pulling out of Brisbane, with Andy Murray also pulling out of the event in Australia because of his chronic hip injury.

In the current year, Nadal has designs of replicating his 2017 form, which saw him go on to win six titles, including two Grand Slams – the French and the US Open – and confirm his place as the year-end world number one for the fourth time in his career.

He faced competition from Roger Federer in the recently concluded year. Federer matched him stride for stride, opening the year by defeating Nadal in the final of the Australian Open and went on to win seven titles, including Wimbledon.

Meanwhile, former world number one Moya was enlisted as Nadal's new coach in December 2016, after he split from Canadian Milos Raonic. He took over from Rafael's uncle Toni Nadal, who parted ways with his nephew after a glorious journey that lasted over 27 years at the top.

Moya is now preparing Nadal for the tour ahead and following his return to training, expects the Spaniard to be fit for the upcoming Australian Open barring any unfortunate event.

"The two training sessions have been very positive after arriving late last night," Moya said, as quoted by the Express. "We want to make a small adaptation to the weather and also to the track.

"Starting tomorrow, he will start playing training sets to try on and he will continue to do so in the coming days. Rafa is fine, with confidence and playing at a good level. And we are optimists. We think it will be fine to play the tournament, if nothing gets twisted or changed."

Pictures of the Year 2017 sport
Rafael Nadal celebrates with the trophy after winning the French Open men's singles final against Stan Wawrinka Christian Hartmann/Reuters