Rafael Nadal has paid tribute to his doctor Angel Ruiz-Cotorro for his role in his repeated comebacks from injury.
Nadal spent the winter battling the knee injury that forced him out of the ATP World Tour Finals in November.
However, the 31-year-old recovered in time to take part in the Australian Open, before a fresh leg injury forced him out of a five-set quarter-final clash with Marin Cilic.
The Spaniard now faces a race against time to be fit for his next scheduled tournament in Acapulco on February 26, which if he does not play will see Roger Federer elevated back to world No 1.
But Nadal is confident of returning in time, particularly with the help of Dr Cotorro.
“We have seen more times than I would have liked in difficult situations but we have also experienced great moments, I know I am in the best hands,” Nadal said.
Cotorro himself, who has worked with tennis players for more than two decades, believes the injuries Nadal keeps suffering are as much to do with the modern game as anything.
“There have been many changes in this sport (racquet material, tracks, speed of the game, training systems…) and that price is being paid by players in the form of injuries, new injuries and that increasingly affect more to the youngest,” said Cotorro.
“We have to work to be a benchmark in sports medicine in Madrid.”