Tennis star Rafael Nadal, who could not take part in the APT Tour for seven long months because of a knee injury, says that he remained sane only because of poker and golf.

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Speaking at the Monte Carlo Masters, Nadal said, “Those were the only two things in which I could really compete over those months, golf and poker. I’m a competitive person, I like sports, and through all that time I could not practice movement sports.”

Nadal, who will be playing for his ninth title in Monaco, is still worried if his knee can take the stress after the double injury and the long break. The 26-year-old tennis star still has a passion to win, which has only doubled in intensity during all those months he had stayed away from tennis, recovering from his injury. As he had missed the London Olympics 2012, he aims to take part in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016. Nadal is still very much for fighting, competing, and winning. He says that he is a “very active person” and will not retire early.

When Nadal was injured in his left knee, he was advised to avoid movement sports for several months. As he hates an inactive lifestyle “lying on the sofa watching TV,” he took refuge in poker and golf.

Recalling his previous injury break, he said that he was happy to be surrounded by friends and family members at his house in Manacor in Majorca. He said, “I was happy, (though) not as happy I could get to be some day when I quit playing tennis.” In spite of the loving attention he received, his “head was always on playing tennis again and on competing again.”

Speaking about his encounter with poker, he said that, when he began learning poker, he did not understand the game. Now that he understands poker, he finds it fun and competitive. He said, “You need to have self-control, to measure times in which you can attack or defend.”

Nadal, who is seven times winner of the French Open, says that his French Open achievements far exceeded his expectations. But he is still worried about his knee and is waiting for the day when he feels that it has become completely strong. Such fears, however, are not related in any way to tennis. He said: “I have to think positive, I cannot think that I’ve forgotten how to play tennis in seven months.”