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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Rafael Nadal targeting Australian Open return

Rafael Nadal has been out with a knee injury since losing in the second round of Wimbledon in July, and it doesn’t look like he’ll be returning to competition this year.

Nadal’s unle and coach, Toni, indicated earlier this month that Rafa might be able to play again this year at either the ATP World Tour Finals or the Davis Cup. That doesn’t sound like it will happen.

“My biggest goal is to compete at Australian Open,” Nadal told CNN Espanol.

“About the Davis Cup final, of course I would love to take part in it, but first I have to see if I will be ready technically and physically.”

Nadal has won the Davis Cup with Spain three times, but he was not on the 2008 winning team because of another injury. He isn’t even sure if the country would have him on the team given his absence from the sport the past few months, but he’s not trying to push himself to be ready for the competition next month.

“I’d rather be cautious especially after trying to recover for the London Olympics and for the US Open with no success.

“I prefer to go day-by-day without setting objectives or time frames, work hard on my recovery and make sure I keep on getting better little by little,” he told CNN.

Nadal’s absence from men’s tennis has allowed Andy Murray an opportunity to emerge. The Scotsman won the US Open — his first grand slam — and the gold medal at the Olympics. Hard courts are Nadal’s weakest surface, but had he been in New York, he might have had a big say in stopping Murray. He also likely would have been a major factor at Wimbledon and the Olympics had he been healthy.

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