[QODLink]
Tennis

Patient Nadal on brink of comeback

Rafa Nadal is slipping down the world rankings but the Spaniard is more concerned about fitness than winning titles.
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2013 17:21
Nadal (R) and his uncle and coach Toni Nadal prepare for upcoming event in Sao Paulo [AFP]

Spaniard Rafa Nadal is keeping his expectations low ahead of his long-awaited return to competitive action in early February after seven months out of tennis with a knee injury.

The 26-year-old French Open champion has not played since losing to Czech Lukas Rosol in the second round at Wimbledon in June due to a partial tear of the patella tendon and inflammation in his left knee.

His planned return at the end of last year was delayed due to illness and he is scheduled to play on his favoured clay at three events next month, starting in Vina del Mar, Chile, on February 4 and taking in the Brazil Open in Sao Paulo from February 11 and the Mexico Open in Acapulco from February 25.

"Well I am going to play (after) a long time in a tennis tournament, professional tennis tournament, after seven months," Nadal told reporters after training on his home island of Majorca on Wednesday.

"I know that the first three tournaments are going to be difficult in terms of results but I am going to try everything. I will need a few weeks to see how things improve"

Rafa Nadal

"The motivation, the illusion is big, so very happy to be back in the competition but just you know, with patience to know how the knee will answer after a long time without the top level," he said.

"The most important thing for me is the knee...that I can support the pain of the knee and then if I am able to play these three tournaments in a row I think it will work very well for me because I will have three important weeks to prepare for the rest of the season.

"I know that the first three tournaments are going to be difficult in terms of results but I am going to try everything. I will need a few weeks to see how things improve."

Nadal's absence deprived tennis of one of the "big four" who have dominated the sport in recent years.

During his spell on the sidelines, Serbian world number one Novak Djokovic won the 2012 World Tour finals and the Australian Open, number two Roger Federer of Switzerland won Wimbledon and third-ranked Briton Andy Murray the U.S. Open and Olympic gold.

In the latest ATP rankings published on Monday, Nadal, who won a record seventh Roland Garros crown in May, slipped below compatriot David Ferrer to number five.

407

Source:
Reuters
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.