Madrid, Spain, 16 October 2012 | EFE

Tennis star Rafael Nadal says it is “unlikely” he will join Spain’s Davis Cup team for its final next month, but says he will be “ready” to play in the Australian Open in January.

Nadal says his knee is still “bothering” him, but he is ready to return to where he was before taking his big break from the sport.

“Everything is possible, but it is unlikely too,” Nadal said in an interview with CNN when asked whether he would be ready to play in Spain’s 16-18 November Davis Cup final against the Czech Republic in Prague.

“I don’t know if I will or I won’t, I need to work with much less intensity than required for the Masters Cup or the final of the Davis Cup,” Nadal said.

Nadal, who is ranked No.4 in the world, has said he is in the “final stretch” of his recovery and will continue doing what his doctors tell him.

The 11-time Grand Slam champion captured a record seventh French Open title this year with a victory over then-world No.1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the final, but he has not played since a shocking second-round loss at Wimbledon.

He said in a Twitter posting in early September that he would be sidelined for the next two months with lingering knee problems.

Nadal told CNN he had to change his goals because of the injury to his left knee.

“I was hoping to regain the No.1 spot in 2012. Now, I’m happy to return at the Australian Open and be 100 per cent competitive,” the 26-year-old said.