Injury-hit Rafael Nadal pulls out of the Olympics
Friday 20 July 2012
The London Olympics was shorn of one of its biggest attractions yesterday when the reigning singles champion Rafael Nadal was forced to pull out because of injury.
Nadal was also due to carry the Spanish flag at next Friday's opening ceremony but has failed to recover from a knee problem. "I am not in a condition to be able to compete," the world No 3 said."It is one of the saddest moments of my career."
Nadal, who won a record seventh French Open title in June before crashing out at Wimbledon in a massive second-round upset against lowly ranked Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic, pulled out of a charity match against Novak Djokovic at Real Madrid's Bernabeu stadium earlier this month saying he was suffering from tendonitis and needed to rest.
He had hoped to return to Wimbledon this month to defend the Olympic title he won in Beijing in 2008, but said: "I have to think of my colleagues. I cannot be selfish and I have to think of the well-being of Spanish sport, especially Spanish tennis, and let a colleague play who has had a better preparation and is in a state to compete.
"Today is one of the saddest days of my career as it was one of my biggest dreams, and perhaps the most anticipated moment, to be the flag bearer at the opening ceremony for the Games in London. You can imagine how difficult it has been to take this decision."
The Spanish Tennis Federation president Jose Luis Escanuela echoed the sense of disappointment. "It's the worst news we could have. Rafa has always been an example of perseverance and tenacity, which makes it hard for him to miss out because surely he would have loved to return to the Games. I hope he recovers quickly."
It is not the first time that Nadal has been forced to withdraw from a big tournament because of injury. In 2009, he missed Wimbledon with a similar knee problem a year after winning the title for the first time in an epic defeat of Roger Federer.
The men's Olympic tennis competition begins on 28 July with Serbia's Djokovic seeded No 1.
Paul Scholes: Manchester City were so good against Liverpool I felt like turning the television off
Diego Costa injury: Chelsea striker a doubt for Everton match after suffering muscle injury
Arsenal vs Besiktas player ratings: Alexis Sanchez? Jack Wilshere? Mesut Ozil? Who was the star man at the Emirates Stadium?
Champions League draw: Liverpool meet Real Madrid, but should they fear facing the reigning champions?
William Carvalho to Manchester United: Midfielder on the cards for Louis van Gaal after Arturo Vidal doubts grow
- 1 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 2 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 3 Daily Show's Jon Stewart destroys Fox News for its Ferguson coverage
- 4 Botched ice bucket challenge leaves man critically injured after plane drops hundreds of gallons of water
- 5 Friends reunion: Jennifer Anniston, Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox perform mini sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage