Rafael Nadal starts training again in Mallorca following long injury absence
Rafael Nadal has started training again following four and a half months of inactivity due to a knee injury.
Last Updated: 21/11/12 5:48pm
The 11-time Grand Slam champion began hitting tennis balls on a hard court in his home town of Manacor in Mallorca.
The 26-year-old, who claimed his seventh French Open title in June, hopes to be fit to compete in January's Australian Open.
Nadal has not played a competitive match since June 28 when he was beaten in the second round of Wimbledon by the then-world No 100 Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic.
Having recovered from his left-knee injury, his first training session was overseen by his uncle and coach Toni Nadal and a physiotherapist.
Nadal said: "I think I am feeling better, the knee is improving the right way and I am happy to be on court.
"I am just enjoying the feeling to be playing tennis. I start very slow and I go day by day. I will work hard in my comeback and hopefully the knee will be ready soon.
"Always you have to be careful. A few months outside of competition the body has to re-adapt everything and all the muscles need to start very slow."
Nadal's athletic and aggressive playing style has meant the 26-year-old has been sidelined a number of times by muscle and joint injuries - particularly in and around his knees.