Melbourne: World No.3 Rafael Nadal isn't optimistic about winning the forthcoming Australian Open tennis tournament, insisting that he is still on the road to recovery after suffering crippling injuries last year.
The 14-time Grand Slam winner won the Australian Open in 2009 but his prospects in the new season's first Major suffered a setback afer enduring an operation to remove his appendix in November, also suffering wrist and back injuries last year.
To make matters worse, Nadal lost to Germany's Michael Berrer in the first round of the Qatar Open earlier this month, that left him crucially short of match practice.
"It will be difficult but I'm working as much as I can to be competitive," he was quoted as saying by The Sydney Morning Herald Thursday.
"It would be better if I had a few more matches (approaching the Australian Open), but in the end that's what there is and the important thing for me is that I am back and healthy and competitive again."
Nadal said he will be taking a match-by-match approach and is targeting to win the first round match.
"I've got to try my best in the first round, if I am able to win a couple of matches then you don't know," he said.
The Australian Open begins Monday.