Article

Nadal targets Melbourne return

4 December 2012 12:00

Rafael Nadal is targeting a return to action at the 2013 Australian Open but is not expecting a triumphant comeback in Melbourne.

The Spanish former world number one has been out of action for close to six months after suffering a partial tear of the patella tendon in his left knee.

Nadal, who has fallen to fourth in the rankings behind Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, has not played since losing to Czech Lukas Rosol in the second round of Wimbledon in June.

The 11-time Grand Slam winner appears to have overcome his knee injury as he prepares for a return to action at Melbourne Park, where the first grand slam of the year is scheduled to start on January 14.

However, the 2009 Australian Open champion has no expectations of challenging for the title, as he aims to reach full fitness by May's French Open - an event he has won seven times.

"I would like to return in January," the 26-year-old said told Spanish radio.

"I don't expect to return and win the Australian Open, I have to be realistic. The results will not worry me in the first tournaments back.

"I have to take into account my form after so long out. It wouldn't bother me if I slipped down to 15th in the world as long as inside I knew was able to continue.

"I want to be 100 percent in time for Monte Carlo and the run-up to Roland Garros."

In terms of recovery, Nadal is pleased with his overall progress, especially decisions made by specialists to avoid further surgery on his knee.

"My recovery is going well and the doctors are pleased," he said.

"I have to look at my career with a five-year view. I considered having surgery, but the doctors have always preferred not to take risks with my treatment."

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