4th of February 2013 Author: Johnny Karp
Rafael Nadal prepares to return to action after eight months on the sidelines with a knee injury but he is well aware that he will need a lot of patience before he can reach the form he had before the injury. The Spanish player begins his comeback this week in Vina del Mar, Chile, a rather small tournament on clay court. Nadal, aged 26, has suffered from tendonitis in his knee since his second round five-set defeat to Czech Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon in June.
"I have to take it slowly and be humble to know that things won't be as good as they were before my injury," he said. "I need weeks of working on the circuit. I need to be patient. Hopefully I'll show an acceptable level. " The former world number one was forced to withdraw from the Australian Open after his recovery from his knee injury was set back by a stomach virus. He also missed the 2012 Olympics and the US Open.
The Spaniard has slipped to number five in the world rankings during his absence. He is coming back to the circuit earlier than expected, as he originally announced he would return at the Brazil Open on 11 February. Nadal is scheduled to play a first-round doubles match on Tuesday before playing his opening singles match on Wednesday.
"Results are the least important thing right now," he said. "If my knee doesn't hurt, I have no fear. I've had had more serious injuries in the past and I got stronger after them. This is the injury that has sidelined me the longest so maybe it will take me a bit longer to get back my confidence, the good feeling on court, but if my knee doesn't hurt I don't see why I couldn't get back my movements and game style."
Rafael Nadal is the top favourite to win the Vina del Mar tournament according to the bookmakers, Bet365 have him at 4/11 to win the tournament, with Juan Monaco priced at 10/3 and Jeremy Chardy at 14/1.
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