• ATP Tour

Nadal: I'll get back to my best on Tour return

ESPN staff
November 27, 2012
Rafael Nadal returned to training last week in preparation for the 2013 season © Rafael Nadal

World No. 4 Rafael Nadal is determined to rediscover his finest form in 2013 on his return from a long-term injury lay-off.

The 11-time grand slam champion has not made a tournament appearance since his shock second-round exit to Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon in June, taking time out from the ATP Tour to rehabilitate a chronic knee injury.

Despite giving himself an outside chance of returning before the end of the season, Nadal did not make it back in time to play a part in either the ATP World Tour Finals in London or Spain's David Cup final defeat by Czech Republic in Prague.

But the 26-year-old has returned to training ahead of the 2013 campaign, starting with an exhibition appearance in Abu Dhabi on December 27.

And while Nadal refused to make assessments of when he will be back to his best, he is determined to return to the top of the game.

"With a week of training, no miracles or timetables," Nadal said, before confirming that his recovery "is following the expected steps. I am working to return to being the same as I was before the injury and am sure that we are going to make it.

"My goal, when I return, is to give it all I've got. If my maximum is enough to be No. 1, then I'm happy, and if it's enough to be No. 8, then I'll be happy also."

Nadal drew parallels between his recovery from a foot injury sustained in 2004 that threatened to end his burgeoning career before it hit the heights of titles at all four grand slams, Olympic gold, the world No. 1 ranking and Davis Cup glory with Spain.

"I came back the same or better, and my goal is to do it again this time," Nadal added.

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