Rafael Nadal says he will not rush his return to competitive tennis
Rafael Nadal is hoping to be in a position to defend his French Open title as he plots his return to the court.
Last Updated: 04/12/12 12:14pm
The world No 4 has not played competitively since his second -round defeat to Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon in June due to a partial tear of the patella tendon in his left knee.
The Spaniard has recently returned to the practice court and is due to compete at the Mubadala Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi later this month with an eye on the Australian Open two weeks later.
However, the 11-time grand slam winner is not expecting to be able to make an impact until he has recovered full fitness, which he hopes to achieve before the Monte Carlo Masters in April.
Nadal told Spanish radio station Onda Cero: "I want to be 100 per cent in Monte Carlo and then prepare well for Roland Garros.
"I will hopefully be ready for Australia but I am only looking at tomorrow and continuing my recovery.
"I have the goal of returning in Abu Dhabi but neither Abu Dhabi nor Australia are the end of the world for me. I will only come back when I am fit. I won't come back worrying about my knee.
"Miracles do not exist and I am unlikely to return and compete for the Australian Open. The results will not worry me in the first tournaments back.
"My recovery is going well. This past month I have taken an important step. I feel happy and the doctors are too.
"We are in the last stage of the recovery and I want to recover as soon as possible but I will not rush back and then have to stop again in six months or a year's time."