MADRID – Tennis star Rafael Nadal has pulled out of the Olympic Games, where he was to be Spain’s flag bearer in the opening ceremony, saying Thursday he had not yet recovered from an unspecified injury.
“I am not in condition to compete in the London Olympics and therefore will not travel as planned with the Spanish delegation to take part in the Games,” the world No. 3 and singles gold medalist four years ago in Beijing said in a statement.
The 11-time Grand Slam champion has received treatment since mid-May for tendonitis in his right knee, although in recent days he said he was optimistic he could recover in time for the Olympics.
During a ceremony last Saturday at the headquarters of the Spanish Olympic Committee in Madrid, Nadal received the flag that he was to have carried in the opening ceremony on July 27.
“I have to think about my companions, I can’t be selfish and I have to think of what’s best for Spanish sport, especially tennis and Spanish players, and give fellow sportsmen with better preparation the chance to compete,” Nadal said.
“I tried to hurry my preparations and training to the very last minute, but it was not to be.”
“Today is one of the saddest days of my career as one of my biggest ambitions, that of being Spain’s flag bearer in the opening ceremony of the games in London, cannot be. You can imagine how difficult it was to take this decision,” Nadal said.
The Spaniard began the summer on a high note by capturing a record seventh French Open title with a victory over then-world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the final.
But he was stunned two weeks later in the second round of Wimbledon by unheralded Czech Lukas Rosol, a defeat regarded as one of the biggest upsets in the tournament’s history.
Nadal has struggled with injuries at various points in his career and was forced to withdraw from the 2009 Wimbledon due to knee tendonitis. EFE