Calling it one of the saddest days of his career, reigning Olympic men’s tennis gold medalist Rafael Nadal announced in a statement that he has pulled himself from the London Games because of 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,” said Nadal, the third-ranked player in the world.
“(This) 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,” Nadal said. “You can imagine how difficult it was to take this decision.”
Nadal did not mention any specific injury, but he has been battling knee pain off and on throughout his illustrious career. In fact, he canceled a charity match in Madrid on July 4 because of tendon problems in his left knee.
He did not use knee troubles as an excuse in his last performance, but he seemed hampered. Nadal has not played since losing in the second round of Wimbledon to then 100th-ranked Lukas Rosol, one of the most surprising results in the tournament’s long history.
Treatment and rehabilitation apparently have not wrought Nadal the results he needed to defend his title in London.
“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,” he said. “I tried to hurry my preparations and training to the very last minute, but it was not to be.”
Nadal, who won the singles tournament at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was set to be the flag bearer for Spain during the opening ceremony, an honor he coveted.