Nadal plans February recovery

World number two returns to action on Friday but will take time off after Australian Open to fix shoulder.

    Nadal has had just under a month to recover after the Davis Cup before starting his new season [GALLO/GETTY]

    Rafael Nadal plans to take several weeks off after the Australian Open to recover from a nagging shoulder injury.

    The second-ranked Nadal said on Thursday the injury surfaced before the ATP World Tour Finals in November and that he was still "not 100 percent.''

    He only decided three days ago to defend his title at the World Tennis Championships, a two-day exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi.

    "I had a problem before London with my shoulder and I had to stop for about 10 days before the (ATP) finals,'' Nadal said Thursday in Abu Dhabi.

    "It felt better but again it resurfaced. In December, I did not have enough time to practice because of that.''

    Nadal will play the winner of a match between Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and David Ferrer in the semi-finals on Friday.

    Three-peat hopeful

    He is hopeful his shoulder will hold up in Abu Dhabi where he will attempt to win the tournament for the third year in a row and in Doha where he plans to play at the Qatar Open next week.

    After competing at the Australian Open beginning January 16, the 25-year-old Spaniard said he would take February off to rest and practice.

    While praising the dominance in 2011 of No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic, who won three Grand Slams, Nadal blamed himself for allowing his play to become "too predictable'' at times.

    But he insisted he wasn't going to overhaul his game despite losing to Djokovic in six finals.

    "This is not the time to change many things. This is the time to keep playing well, to keep improving my tennis,'' Nadal said.

    "I will just try and be competitive in all the tournaments. I was competitive in all the tournaments (in 2011) and was in three Grand Slam finals.''

    SOURCE: AP


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