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Rafael Nadal hopes to start practicing soon

Spain's Rafael Nadal looks on during his loss

Spain's Rafael Nadal looks on during his loss to Czech Republic's Lukas Rosol during a second round men's singles match on day four of the 2012 Wimbledon Championships tennis tournament at the All England Tennis Club. (June 28, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty Images

Rafael Nadal will set foot on a tennis court again relatively soon, but he's not committing to a time frame.

"I am working to try to come back to practice on the tennis court in a not very long period of time," Nadal said during a conference call Tuesday.

A torn patella tendon in his left knee has kept him sidelined since losing a second-round match at Wimbledon. It forced him to miss the Olympics and the U.S. Open.

Nadal, who has a history of knee issues, said he never questioned whether he could return. "I am feeling good, better now than the first couple of months," he said.

Nadal's call was to promote the March 4 event at Madison Square Garden, where he will take on Juan Martin del Potro in an exhibition match as part of Tennis Night in America.

"Playing at Madison Square Garden will be something very special, especially with not being in New York this year [for the U.S. Open]," Nadal said. "When you play in an exhibition, I want to go wild. I want to play like that. I want to have fun, to create a very good show for the spectators."

Initially, Nadal thought that the injury was not properly healing. But more recently, he's been encouraged by the progress. "The last couple of weeks, the improvement in my knee is something that I really can feel," he said.

But even beginning to practice doesn't spell the end of Nadal's journey back to competition. First, he has to get his knee healthy for everyday life, a routine that involves swimming and plenty of gym time. Then he has to get it back into superstar shape.

"That's something that I will know when my knee is completely healthy, when I start to practice," he said.

Nadal, who has won 11 major singles titles isn't counting out a comeback at the Davis Cup final for Spain, which takes place in the Czech Republic on Nov. 16-18.

"Impossible is nothing," he said. "But difficult? Yes."

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