4 Dec 2012

Nadal eyes clay season for return to top form

11:33 am on 4 December 2012

The Spanish tennis star Rafa Nadal is aiming to be back to his best after injury, in time for the claycourt season and the run-up to the French Open.

The 26-year-old former world number one has slipped down to fourth in the ATP rankings and has not played since his shock second-round exit at Wimbledon in June.

The Spaniard was diagnosed with a partial tear of the patella tendon and inflammation of the left knee, only returning to hitting balls on a practice court two weeks ago.

Nadal says his recovery is going well and the 11-times grand slam singles champion says he'd like to return to competition in January but is being realistic about what kind of form he'll been in.

He says he won't be worried about results in his first tournaments back but wants to be 100 percent in time for the run-up to Roland Garros.

Nadal won a record seventh French Open title in May.