MADRID (AFP ) - Rafael Nadal is aiming to be fit for the Australian Open in January as he recovers from an appendicitis operation, the Spaniard said Tuesday.
The former world No. 1, now ranked third, missed the end of the current season due to appendicitis but says he wants to use December to help prepare him for 2015.
"As ever after a period when things haven't gone well, you're a bit more eager to (prepare) well, although there is uncertainty about how things will go," said the 28-year-old during a promotional event. "I hope to use December to prepare well. "I'll have a month before things start in Australia, I hope and believe that's enough to get me to my best level."
Nadal last played in Basel, Switzerland, last month and went under the knife at the beginning of November. He said the last few months had been "complicated" but added that "a year in which you win a Grand Slam cannot be a bad year".
In June, he won Roland Garros for the ninth time in 10 years. And he said he would gladly sign up now for an equivalent next three years to this year if he could, despite the injury problems he's suffered. He still managed to win the Madrid Masters and events in Doha and Rio, as well as reaching the Australian Open final and those of the Miami and Rome Masters.
"I'm very excited and I hope this year, from a health perspective, will allow me to compete the whole time and to feel good," added Nadal, the 2008 Olympic champion and 14-time Grand Slam winner.
He said he would start next year with an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi before defending his title in Doha and then going on to the Australian Open.