- Associated Press - Friday, August 17, 2012

MANACOR, SPAIN (AP) - Rafael Nadal won’t rush back from a knee injury.

“I have to listen (to the doctors) and be patient, and I will come back when my knee is well,” the third-ranked Spaniard said Friday from his home island of Mallorca.

“The best thing I can do now is to stop, get fully well, accept the situation and work hard to come back better.”

Tendinitis in his left knee has kept Nadal from playing since he lost in the second round at Wimbledon in June.

The 26-year-old Nadal skipped the Olympics, where he was set to defend his gold medal and carry Spain’s flag at the opening ceremony. He also missed a charity match with Novak Djokovic and tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati before recently ruling himself out of the upcoming U.S. Open.

The 11-time Grand Slam winner said that he was not worried about falling down the world rankings.

“At this stage in my career my ranking is of the least importance,” Nadal said. “The most important thing is that I am sure I am fit to compete like I did during the first six months of this year, with a solid chance to win in each tournament I enter. After being almost eight years ranked either first or second, I think that being ranked second or fourth or sixth doesn’t really change anything.”

This isn’t the first time his knees have forced Nadal to take a break. In 2009, he took a hiatus, recovered and came back stronger than ever.

Nadal said he would like to play for Spain in the Davis Cup semifinal match against the United States, starting Sept. 14, but he made no promises.

“If (my knee) is well in time for the Davis Cup and the captain wants me, I will be happy to be there,” he said. “It would be exciting for me and a great moment to return. If not, then I will have to wait a little longer.”