• VTR Open

French Open 'light years away' for Nadal

ESPN staff
February 7, 2013
Rafa won his comeback singles match

Rafael Nadal says the French Open seems "light years away" after he made a successful singles return to the ATP Tour on Wednesday in Chile.

Nadal won 6-3 6-2 in his first singles match since June at the VTR Open in Vina del Mar but thoughts of defending his title at Roland Garros are still far from his mind.

Instead Nadal is focusing on reaching '100%' fitness as he continues his recovery from a serious knee injury.

Despite not playing a singles match since losing to Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon seven months ago, Nadal is still the world No. 5 and showed his quality in dispatching Federico Delbonis in 88 minutes.

But he got off to a slow start and dropped the first two games and was 0-30 down in the third before he smoothed out his play.

And May's French Open, where Nadal is a seven-time champion, still feels a lot further away than three-and-a-half months to the Spaniard.

"For me, Roland Garros is light years away," Nadal said. "All I see is doubles tomorrow and my singles again here on Friday.

"Roland Garros is a very important event, but I never think about it until I get there. It doesn't matter if I arrive ranked No. 15, 20, 30 or 40. All that matters is I can play like I did before and my physical condition is 100%. My object is to be able to compete at the highest level as soon as possible."

Nadal and doubles partner Juan Monaco will meet Guillaume Rufin and Flippo Volandri on Thursday while Friday's singles match will be against Albert Montanes or Daniel Gimeno-Traver.

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