Nadal puts fitness before results
Rafael Nadal will not worry about results as he makes his latest comeback from persistent knee problems.
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The 26-year-old Spaniard won the French Open this year but missed the last six months of the season after playing at Wimbledon when he knew he was not fully fit.
Now he is ready to return at an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi next week, although he admits his knee is still not 100 per cent and his focus is not on results.
"I am not nervous," he told The Times. "The only thing is the knee.
"The rest of the things - I can play better, I can play worse - it doesn't matter how I play tennis in the next month or month and a half.
"For me my goal is not Abu Dhabi, it is not Doha, it is not the Australian Open - my goal is to try to be fit, to be 100 per cent recovered with my knee and 100 per cent fit in my personal performance by Indian Wells and Miami [in March], to try to arrive to Monte Carlo and the claycourt season in good shape."
He added: "It will take time. The people have to know when you are outside of the competitions and haven't played for a long time, you will have problems to come back to your best."
Since Nadal last swung a racket in anger, there is a new grand-slam winner on the scene with Andy Murray having beaten Novak Djokovic in the US Open final shortly after seeing off Roger Federer to win Olympic gold.
It was not east at Flushing Meadows, as Djokovic roared back from two sets down to level at 2-2, but Murray held his nerve to win the trophy as Nadal felt he would.
"I really thought Andy would win because the tennis owed him something," said Nadal. "That was my feeling.
"The Olympics was a big change and with the calm of winning that at home, you go to a grand-slam final and you feel that Andy, before the match, believed he was favourite.
"If you really believe in yourself, it doesn't matter if you were leading by two sets to love and the opponent comes back."