Sydney NSW, Australia, 7 January 2015 | AAP

Sydney International officials are hoping to lure Rafael Nadal back to the Australian Open lead-up event for the first time in seven years.

Nadal on Wednesday suffered a shock first-round loss in Qatar to 34-year-old German qualifier Michael Berrer, leaving the world No.3 desperately short of match practice heading into the opening grand slam of 2015.

Nadal is on the comeback trail after undergoing surgery for appendicitis in October and a Sydney International spokesman told AAP they were considering offering the 14-time major winner a wildcard.

“There’s still negotiations going on, but obviously there’s definite interest in having him,” the spokesman said.

“It’s Rafa Nadal, so we’d love to have him.”

Nadal has already been offered a wildcard into next week’s Heineken Open in Auckland, with tournament director Karl Budge awaiting the Spaniard’s reply.

The 2009 Australian Open champion has only ever contested one official lead-up event outside of the Middle East before arriving at Melbourne Park – and that was in Sydney back in 2007.

On that occasion, he retired injured while trailing 6-5 in the first set against Chris Guccione.

But desperate times call for desperate measures and Nadal, who has also been suffering from back and wrist injuries, admits he’s in a race against the clock to be competitive for the Open.

The 28-year-old even hinted at skipping the season’s opening major for the third time following his demoralising 1-6 6-3 6-4 loss to Berrer, the world No.127 who had only previously won four games in four sets against the Spaniard.

“Little things didn’t quite work out for me today,” Nadal said.

“This is the third comeback of my career after injury, so we will see how it goes in a couple of months. I wanted to start well, but it was not the case today.

“I also want to play in the Australian Open which is a tournament I like a lot. I don’t know if that will be the case either, but I am going to work for it. If not I will be playing at Rio and Buenos Aires.

“The season is long. After coming back from injury you can’t see the immediate moment, you have to look further ahead a little bit.

“Now in my mind I have to practise well and try to be ready for Australia, but I know it can happen that I will go there and lose. Perhaps I will win a couple of matches there, I don’t know.”