Nadal expecting a slow start

Rafael Nadal admits it is going to take plenty of time to get back to his best ahead of his return to action next week.

Nadal has been absent from the ATP Tour since July when he lost in the second round of Wimbledon to Lukas Rosol.

The Spaniard suffered a recurrence of a long-term knee problem and was forced to miss the rest of the season, including the US Open and 2012 Olympic Games in London.

He is due to return in Abu Dhabi, a tournament that starts on 27 December, but says his goal is to be back in top form for the clay-court tournament in Monte Carlo in April.

"I'm prepared to accept that my knee may not respond well at the beginning," Nadal said.