MONACO, Spain - Rafael Nadal made a long-awaited return to the practice courts yesterday after missing nearly five months of tennis with knee injuries.

Nadal's PR team tweeted a message that the Spaniard was back in training on his home island of Mallorca, posting a picture of him on an indoor court to prove the point.

Nadal, 26, now ranked fourth in the world, last competed on June 28 when he lost in the Wimbledon second round to Czech Lukas Rosol.

Since then, the former No. 1 was forced to miss the Olympics, U.S. Open and the World Tour Finals, along with last weekend's Davis Cup final, which Spain lost 3-2 to the Czech Republic in Prague.

Doubts persist over exactly when Nadal will get back to competition, with possibilities running the spectrum from the Abu Dhabi post-Christmas exhibition with Novak Djokovic and David Ferrer also playing to possible appearances on the ATP in New Zealand, as well as the pre-Australian Open AAMI Classic in Melbourne.

Nadal, winner of 11 Grand Slams, was diagnosed with a partial tear of the patella tendon and an inflammation of a fat pad in the knee.