Former world No. 1 Rafael Nadal said on Monday he expects "nothing" from himself before his return to the courts next month.

Nadal, 37, has been out with a hip injury since last January but is set to feature at Brisbane in the new year.

The Spaniard will use the tournament as a warm-up to the Australian Open in Melbourne having slumped to 663rd in the world before starting his final year before his expected retirement.

"I think I'm ready and I trust and hope that all goes well and it gives me the opportunity to enjoy myself on the court," Nadal said in a video on social media.

"I expect from myself to expect nothing.

"To have the ability not to demand myself what I have demanded myself throughout my career," the 22-time Grand Slam winner added.

Since being sidelined Nadal has been overtaken in the number of Grand Slam tournaments won by Serbian world number one Novak Djokovic, who now has 24 major titles.

Nadal will try to return to the highest level in Australia with the aim of competing at the French Open which he has won a record 14 times.

He is in line for a busy final season with the Grand Slams and the Olympic Games, where he won singles gold in Beijing in 2008 and doubles gold in Rio in 2016.

"I believe I'm in a different moment, situation. I am in an unexplored terrain," Nadal said.

"I have internalized what I have had throughout my life, which is demand myself the maximum.

"Right now what I really hope is to be able not to do that, to accept things are going to be very difficult at the beginning and give myself the necessary time."