Patience the key for Nadal
Rafael Nadal accepts he will have to be patient as he looks to rebuild his career following eight months away from the ATP Tour.
The 26-year-old 11-time major winner begins his comeback this week at Chile's VTR Open in Vina del Mar after a lengthy absence due to injury and illness, but believes it will be some time before he is back to his best.
"I need weeks of working (on) the circuit," the world number five said on www.atpworldtour.com. "This is my first week and I don't think the goals are the same that the ones I will have in two more months.
"I have to take it slowly and be humble to know that things won't be as good as they were before my injury. I need to be patient."
The former world number one, whose last outing came in a shock second-round defeat to Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon in June, was forced to abort his return from a knee injury in December after being struck down by a stomach virus - an illness which ruled him out of last month's Australian Open.
Nadal has not contested an ATP tournament in South America since 2005.
He is scheduled to play a first-round doubles match alongside Argentinian Juan Monaco on Tuesday, against Czech second seeds Frantisek Cermak and Lukas Dlouhy, before opening his singles campaign on Wednesday.
"I hope the tournament will help me to get the feeling I need to add week after week after a long period without competition," he said. "Results are the least important thing right now."
He added: "If my knee doesn't hurt, I have no fear. I've had had more serious injuries in the past and I got stronger after them.
"This is the injury that has sidelined me the longest so maybe it will take me a bit longer to get back my confidence, the good feeling on court, but if my knee doesn't hurt I don't see why I couldn't get back my movements and game style."