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“If I feel good in Abu Dhabi we’ll continue but if not I’ll take it calmly.”

The first grand-slam event of 2013, the Australian Open, starts on Jan. 14.

The 26-year-old Nadal, who won a record seventh French Open crown in May on his favoured clay, said winning matches was not his priority over the coming weeks and he was totally focused on making sure the knee had healed properly.

“My goal is not this week, nor even Doha [from Dec. 31] or Australia,” he said.

“My goal is to be in shape, get back to feeling completely fine and feeling completely prepared.

Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
Rafael Nadal's last tournament victory was his seventh career French Open title in June 2012.

”My season, my real objective, is to be in perfect condition for Indian Wells and Miami [in March] and get to Monte Carlo [in April] with good feelings, to tackle the clay season in good shape.

“The last tournament I played in good shape was Roland Garros and I won it.

”The end of February or March is when I will feel good. That’s when my season starts, that’s when I’ll tell myself that I am ready to win.“

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