LONDON - Knee-injury victim Rafael Nadal has said he plans to return to tennis at the Australian Open in January, less than three months away.

The former world No. 1, who has not played in almost four months since losing a second-round match at Wimbledon, told CNN International that his recovery is going well, although slowly.

But he admitted it was no longer possible for him to try to take back the No. 1 ranking this season. Instead, he is focusing on being ready when the Australian Open begins on January 14.

"I was hoping to regain the No. 1 spot in 2012. Now I'm happy to return at the Australian Open and be 100 percent competitive," said the fourth-ranked Spaniard.

Nadal added that he is unlikely to be able to train hard enough to be ready for Spain's Davis Cup finals on November 16-18 in Prague against the Czech Republic.

"Everything is possible, but it is unlikely too," he said. "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 [the November ATP season-ending event] or the final of the Davis Cup."