Rafael Nadal is "healthy again" after making his on-court return at an exhibition event in Sydney on Monday.

Nadal was expected to feature at last week's Brisbane International but opted out of the ATP 250 event after suffering a small strain on his left thigh. It was the latest setback for the 17-time grand slam champion after struggling with knee and ankle problems in 2018, his last appearance coming at the US Open.

However, the Spaniard was able to play for almost an hour at the Fast4 event in Sydney against Nick Kyrgios – a match he eventually lost 4-0 3-4 5-3.

"I really enjoyed it a lot, playing tonight here," he said. "I'm happy to be back on court and then happy that I'm healthy again.

"I think it was a good start for me, a good comeback to the action in front of a fantastic crowd.

"[But] I need to [find] a little bit more rhythm."