Patient Nadal to rest until knee is healed

Rafael Nadal will take as much rest as his body needs before

returning to tennis.

”I have to listen (to the doctors) and be patient, and I will

come back when my knee is well,” the third-ranked Spaniard said on

Friday from his home island of Mallorca.

”The best thing I can do now is to stop, get fully well, accept

the situation and work hard to come back better.”

Tendinitis in his left knee has kept Nadal from playing since he

lost in the second round at Wimbledon in June.

The 26-year-old Nadal missed the Olympics, where he was set to

defend his gold medal and carry Spain’s flag at the opening

ceremony. He also missed a charity match with Novak Djokovic and

tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati before recently ruling

himself out of the upcoming U.S. Open.

The 11-time Grand Slam winner said that he was not worried about

falling down the world rankings.

”At this stage in my career my ranking is of the least

importance,” Nadal said. ”The most important thing is that I am

sure I am fit to compete like I did during the first six months of

this year, with a solid chance to win in each tournament I enter.

After being almost eight years ranked either first or second, I

think that being ranked second or fourth or sixth doesn’t really

change anything.”

This isn’t the first time his knees have forced Nadal to take a

break. In 2009, he took a hiatus, recovered and came back stronger

than ever.

Nadal said he would like to play for Spain in the Davis Cup

semifinal match against the United States, starting on Sept. 14,

but he made no promises.

”If (my knee) is well in time for the Davis Cup and the captain

wants me, I will be happy to be there,” he said. ”It would be

exciting for me and a great moment to return. If not, then I will

have to wait a little longer.”