By James Crook

Rafa NadalJanuary 26 - Eleven-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal hopes to make a return to tennis at the VTR Open in Chile next month after seven months out. 

The 26-year-old Nadal has not competed since his second-round defeat to unseeded Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon in June last year due to tendinitis in his knee, but it has emerged that he has entered the tournament, which commences on February 4 in Viña del Mar.

He has dropped in the rankings and is now rated number four in the world, behind Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray.

The Spanish star has won the French Open a record seven times in eight years, earning himself the title "King of Clay" due to his dominance on the surface his game is best suited to- he has a 98 per cent win record on clay surfaces.

NadalRafa Nadal hopes to make a return to tennis at the VTR Open in Chile in February

Nadal announced his return on his official Facebook page:

"I would like to say that I have many fans in the Andean country, and I can finally go be with them and play in my first tournament after the injury that has kept me away for so long."

Nadal did not compete in this year's Australian Open, which is due to culminate tomrrow, due to a stomach virus. 

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