Rafael Nadal bullish about tour return

MANACOR, Spain: Rafael Nadal has shaken off the knee injury that forced him to abandon his Australian Open title defence last month and is confident of making a successful tour return at Indian Wells in March.

The world number three, who practised on an indoor court near his home in Mallorca on Monday, told Reuters the tendon had healed in his right knee and he was working to get back to the same level of fitness he reached at the start of the year.

“Right now, this week and these first few days back, it’s a matter of taking things slowly,” Nadal said in a courtside interview after his first training session of the month. “I think things are progressing very well,” he added. “I have been working with the appropriate machines to help the tear heal as quickly as possible and also done a lot of physical work in the gym.”

Nadal’s latest injury setback forced him to withdraw from his quarter-final against Briton Andy Murray in Melbourne in January and he also pulled out of last week’s Rotterdam event.

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