Nadal looks ahead at today’s interview. REUTERS/Enrique Calvo via Daylife

Rafael Nadal spoke with the Spanish media today about the knee injury that has kept him out of competition since Wimbledon and has led him to withdraw from the upcoming US Open. During his interview he confirmed that he is suffering from Hoffa’s Syndrome, a painful condition involving the inflammation of the fat pad under the knee cap.

Rafa explains (El Pais via Google translate):

 “It is not the same wound in the tendon of the past, it is somewhat different.” Rafa said. “This is positive.  The (previously injured) tendons are very recovered in comparison to three years ago, they have been regenerated very well.  I have had (this new) problem in the Hoffa fat, it’s  inflamed, a little “fibrosada”, and it must be recovered”

Treatment of this condition involves rest and physical therapy, though surgery is an option in extreme cases. From what I’ve read on the always reliable internet, it does not sound like a career ending type of problem.

We still need two or three weeks of treatment,” Rafa told the press.

Though Rafa’s ranking will likely slip below Andy Murray’s this summer, the Spaniard brushed off any concerns about his slipping ranking (via ESPN).

“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.

Spain plays the U.S. in the Davis Cup semifinals in Gijon, Spain  starting on September 14. Rafa’s coach, Toni Nadal, has been cautiously optimistic about Rafa’s ability to return to competition there, where the matches will be played on clay.

Clay, Rafa’s best surface, is likely to play a big role in his comeback. Rafa told the press that this injury has made him rethink his scheduling going forward:

“We will do a new approach and probably from now on have to play more on clay courts than on hard, which hurt me more.  If I have to play fewer games a year, I will, if I have to change the tournaments I play, I will. Anything to prolong my career.

According to El Pais, Rafa dreams of prolonging his career at least until Rio 2016.