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Nadal Voices Comeback Expectations

Vina del Mar, Chile

Rafa© Jim Rydell/VTR OpenNadal signs autographs at the VTR Open in Vina del Mar

After eight months away from the ATP World Tour, World No. 5 Rafael Nadal has acknowledged he must be patient during his comeback, which starts this week at Chile's VTR Open in Vina del Mar.

"I need weeks of working [on] the circuit. 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,” the 11-time Grand Slam champion said. “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,” he added.

Nadal is scheduled to play a first-round doubles match with Argentine Juan Monaco on Tuesday against the second-seeded Czech team of Frantisek Cermak and Lukas Dlouhy. His singles campaign will begin Wednesday, following a first-round bye as the top seed.

"I hope the tournament will help me to get the feeling I need to add week after week after a long period without competition,” said the left-hander, adding that “results are the least important thing right now".

"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,” said the 26-year-old Spaniard.  “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.”

The former World No. 1 isn’t thinking about ascending to the top spot of the Emirates ATP Rankings, and is instead focusing on one match at a time and one week at a time.

Nadal added that he was grateful for the support he has received to date in Chile. “It's been fantastic; the people have been incredible to me.”

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