Johannesburg - South African tennis player Izak van der Merwe hopes to make his long awaited comeback this week for South Africa's Euro-Africa Group Two tie against Monaco at the Irene Country Club in Pretoria.
The 30-year-old Van der Merwe has been out of action for 10 months because of a Haglund’s deformity, which is a condition where a bony enlargement forms on the back of the heel.
"After years of playing non-stop, a Haglund’s deformity started to form in my heel bone," said Van der Merwe, who lives in Stellenbosch and trains at the Kainos Tennis Academy based at Coetzenburg.
Van der Merwe said it had been painful to play, and that he had to go for surgery to have any hope of recovery.
"It was frustrating to be out of action so long, and there wasn’t much I could do," he said.
"I had to be patient and focus on the rehab process and to accept that it might take longer than expected.
"My patience was really tested, and that was probably the most difficult part of the process of getting back to full health and fitness."
After sitting out the whole of last year, Van der Merwe has set his focus on getting back to full fitness.
"Firstly, I want to get back to 100 percent fitness and play a full year without any injuries," Van der Merwe said.
"If I can keep injury free, I want to regain and better my singles (110) and doubles (90) rankings from 2011 in the next 18 months."