(REUTERS) - Rafael Nadal kept his predictions low-key on Wednesday (January 30) as he prepared for his long-awaited comeback from an injury at next month's Chile Open.
The 10-times grand slam champion, who has not played competitively since last year's Wimbledon tournament in June, has been sidelined with tendonitis in his left knee.
His hopes of returning at the Australian Open were dashed by a stomach virus.
"The motivation, the illusion is big, so I am very happy to be back in the competition. I will have to be patient to know how the knee will answer after a long time without the top level," Nadal told reporters in Majorca after a practice session with his uncle and coach Toni Nadal.
The Spaniard hopes that clay-court tournaments in Chile, Brazil and Mexico will help him ease back into tournament play, but remained cautious about his performance.
"I will need a few weeks to see how the things improve. But the most important thing for me is the knee respect, that I can support the pain of the knee and then if I am able to play this three tournaments in a row I think it will work very well for me because I will have three important weeks to prepare for the rest of the season," Nadal said.
"I know that the first three tournaments are going to be difficult in terms of result but I am going to try everything," the 26-year-old added.
Nadal's long absence from the circuit means he has slipped outside the top four in the world for the first time in more than seven years.
Video Source: Reuters