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Nadal says he is unlikely to make Australian Open return

Madrid, Dec 4, 2012 (IANS):

Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal Tuesday confirmed that he was unlikely to be fit for the 2013 Australian Open.

The 26-year-old has not played since June when he partially tore a tendon in his left knee in a second round match at Wimbledon and has been working towards gaining fitness.

The Mallorcan born player was realistic about his fitness prospects and said he didn't expect to be in condition to compete in the first major event of the season, which is held in January, Xinhua reports.

"My recovery is going well. This past month I have taken an important step. I feel happy and the doctors are happy too," he said.

"Miracles do not exist and I am unlikely to return and compete for the Australian Open."

Speaking on Spanish radio station, Onda Cero, Nadal said his main ambition was to be able to compete in the French Open and to hone his form in Monte Carlo in April for his favourite event, which he will try to win for a record breaking eighth time in May.

"I want to be 100 percent in Monte Carlo and then prepare well for Roland Garros," said Nadal.

"I will only come back when I am fit and I won't come back worrying about my knee. We are in the last stage of the recovery and I want to recover as soon as possible but I will not rush back and then have to stop again in six months or a year's time," he said

Nadal was also asked about the possibility of tighter anti-doping controls in his sport and said he would be in favour of such a move.

"I want to be 100 percent sure that the person I am playing is just as 'clean' as I am," he said, adding that he didn't enjoy the testing process.

"Before the test, you have to lift up your shirt, drop your pants and turn around 360 degrees. I don't really like that," he admitted.


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