Rafael Nadal has admitted that he is 'not ready' to play singles yet despite practicing regularly for three hours a day. The Spaniard is playing doubles with Marc Lopez, with whom he won the gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, at the Spanish Championships being held at his academy in his home town in Manacor, Mallorca.
The 14-time Grand Slam champion is making his first competitive appearance since cutting his 2016 season short in October following his loss at the Shanghai Masters. Nadal is expected to return to singles action at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships at Abu Dhabi at the end of December, before moving on to the Bisbane International, which will be his first ATP tournament of the 2017 season.
Nadal looked to be getting back to his best at the start of the 2016 season, when he won back-to-back titles at the Barcelona Open and the Monte Carlo Masters, but suffered a wrist injury which forces him withdraw during the French Open. He then missed the rest of the first-half of the season including Wimbledon before returning to take part in the Olympic Games in Rio. Despite winning the gold in doubles and losing in the bronze medal match in the singles, he failed to win another title on the ATP Tour.
The 31-year-old has made it clear that winning Grand Slams and returning to the top of the world rankings is his goal when he returns, but fitness is likely to play a key role in Nadal's return back to the top of the men's game.
"I am practicing for three hours and a half daily, I'm feeling well but I'm not ready to play singles yet. I'm happy that Spanish Championships are being played in my academy. It's funny to play with Marc," Nadal, who has made it to the semi-finals of the Spanish Championships, was quoted as saying by tennisworldusa.org
"In tennis, Masters 1000s and Grand Slams are more important, but what the Olympics make you live is an unique experience that is the most beautiful memory in my life," the former world number one added.