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Rafa: Not at my best

Vina del Mar: Now that he finally has a competitive match under his belt after seven months on the sidelines, Rafael Nadal wants to stop talking about his injured left knee.

Nadal , whose knee problem has lingered despite on-going therapy, marked his return to the tour with a doubles victory on Tuesday alongside Juan Monaco at a little-known clay court tournament in Chile.

The Spaniard had not played since June 28 when he suffered a upset oust in the second round of Wimbledon by Lukas Rosol.

Nadal and Monaco won easily in just over an hour at the VTR Open, defeating the Czech pair of Frantisek Cermak and Lukas Dlouhy 6-3, 6-2.

Nadal’s practice sessions in Chile have lasted longer, and the first question centred on his knee — a sore subject with the Spaniard.

The former No. 1, Nadal addressed the question for several minutes, and then said he wanted to drop the subject and concentrate on tennis as he begins a build-up to what could be his eighth French Open title.

“The knee — I said it when I got here. I would prefer not to keep talking about the topic,” Nadal said.

“At the end of the day the doctors have said it’s OK. There is no risk of making it worse. My knee keeps hurting. But the fact I am playing here is a thing of joy.

“I am not 100 per cent yet, I need some weeks. I am not at my best,” he added. “If it hurts, it hurts and we'll put up with it.

“I am here to play tennis, with or without pain.... I’m happy to have played an official game.”