Rafael Nadal is hoping to get back to full fitness before the start of the 2017 season after calling time on the ongoing campaign owing to a wrist injury. The Spaniard cut short his season after the Shanghai Masters and will return to action in January.
The 30-year-old has struggled for form and fitness in recent seasons, and despite starting the season strongly, he struggled with injuries that saw him miss the grass court season including Wimbledon. Nadal won his 28th Masters title of his career and even took part in the Olympics, winning his second gold but this time it was in the doubles event alongside close friend and compatriot Marc Lopez.
The 14-time Grand Slam winner is confident that he can return to playing at his best and compete with the top players in the big tournaments. Former world number one Mats Wilander has backed Nadal to recapture his form and go after Roger Federer's record of 17-Grand Slam titles, while also capturing a 10th French Open title.
The Swedish seven-time Grand Slam winner has also pinpointed Nadal's style of play as the reason for his injury struggles in recent years, but has backed him to win at least one more major before calling time on his career.
"The last two months before the injury I had been playing at the highest level, competing against everybody with good chances, and winning events," Nadal told CNN's Open Court programme during the launch of his tennis academy in his hometown in Mallorca.
"That's what I need -- be healthy and keep practicing with the same motivation and the rest of the things are going to come back. I believe that I can fight for important things," he added.
"I think Rafa wants to get to 10 French Opens, that's obvious. I think Roger Federer's 17 majors are still within reach. He's only 30 years old," Wilander said on the sidelines of the tennis academy opening.
"People are worried about his health. Yes, he's going to get injured because he's a crazy man. He takes himself into the ditch. He drives himself into the ground and comes back.
"Realistically he's going to win at least another grand slam. You cannot think Novak Djokovic is going to dominate completely for the next five years," the Swedish tennis star added.