Rafael Nadal is not shying away from what he says will be a "difficult" and "painful" process of returning to tour from his more recent injury.

Nadal has been off the court since Washington, D.C. with an a problem in his foot, which he has revealed is Muller-Weiss syndrome, a condition caused by an improperly developed bone that he developed as a teenager in 2005. He was recently treated again for the problem, but now appears to be off the crutches he was pictured in less than two weeks ago and aiming a comeback next season.

"I have the goal of improving and facing a process that is going to be difficult, painful at some point , but I have to do it to fight for what I want. And I am determined to do it,'' he said in a documentary series on the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca.


Nadal hasn't played since the Citi Open in August.

Nadal hasn't played since the Citi Open in August. 

The 35-year-old acknowledges that at this point in his career, "it becomes more and more complicated, but you have to value the positive things."

Nadal also did not play between the French Open and Washington because of the injury. But the Spaniard described it as normal during a tennis player's career, saying, "What was in the script was to play Wimbledon, the Olympics, the US Open, but what was not in the script was getting hobbled today. Fantastic things have happened to me in my career, better than I ever dreamed of, and also complicated in terms of injuries, but there has always been a way to go forwards."

Nadal is No. 6 in the rankings. Even with a schedule limited by his injury, he won two ATP titles at Barcelona and Rome.