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Beyond the Baseline

Djokovic looks forward to Nadal's return

Rafael Nadal hasn't played since losing in the second round at Wimbledon in June. (Facundo Arrizabalaga/Landov)

LONDON -- Rafael Nadal, who has been sidelined since Wimbledon, is rehabilitating his problematic knees in Spain in hopes of being fully fit at the start of the 2013 season. Even his rivals know that the game loses something when the 11-time Grand Slam winner isn't in the mix.

"Tennis misses Rafa a lot," Novak Djokovic said. "He's a globally recognized tennis player and athlete, a very popular, very attractive player to watch and a great competitor. He already became a legend of this sport and he's only 26.

"I really hope for him that he's going to recover and we're going to see him in Australia, because he definitely deserves to be back. I'm sure that everybody will be happy to see him on the court."

In the meantime, Nadal has been keeping tabs on his colleagues at the ATP World Tour Finals. He (or the person behind his Twitter feed) excitedly tweeted Monday about his good friend Marc Lopez's doubles final with Marcel Granollers (the Spanish pair defeated Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna 7-5, 3-6, 10-3) and later congratulated Djokovic for his 7-6 (6), 7-5 victory against Roger Federer in the season-ending championships.

http://twitter.com/DjokerNole/statuses/268179474204479489

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