Rafael Nadal withdraws from Olympics, “not in condition” to play
Professional tennis player Rafael Nadal has reportedly bailed out of the London Olympics on Thursday due to an injury.
According to reports, 26-year-old Nadal withdrew from playing in the 2012 London Olympics, claiming that he is “not in condition” to compete. This now leaves the tennis competition without one of its leading players and also robbing the team of Spain of its flag bearer for the opening ceremony. Rafael Nadal announced his withdrawal from the london Olympics after a morning practice session in which he concluded, according to his coach and uncle Toni Nadal, that his recurring knee problems will not allow him to effectively compete.
“Today is one of the saddest days of my career,” Rafael Nadal said in a statement.
The prominent tennis player won the Olympic singles title in Beijing and had put a high priority on this year’s London Olympics, which will be held on the same location where Wimbledon is played every year.
Rafael Nadal, an 11-time Grand Slam singles champion who already ranks among the most celebrated tennis players, won the Wimbledon in 2008 and 2010. However, he was defeated in five sets during the second round of Wimbledon by the 100th-ranked Lukas Rosol. After this defeat, Nadal made no comment of his knee pain. In fact, he had played well to win his seventh French Open title earlier in June.
However, according to Spanish newspaper “El Pais,” the tennis player underwent magnetic resonance imaging scans twice during the Wimbledon competition because of his rising concern about his knees — particularly his left knee. After losing to Rosol, El Pais reported that Rafael Nadal had a consultation with his personal physician Angel Cotorro, who also works with the Spanish Tennis Federation, then returned to Vitoria to receive injections from Mikel Sanchez, the same physician who gave platelet-rich plasma therapy to Nadal in the past to address his tendinitis.
Rafael Nadal did not directly mention about his knee condition in his statement on Thursday. The Spanish player only said that he was not “in a condition” to play.
“He doesn’t want to give excuses for past losses; he’s not in condition to play; that’s all he wants to say,” his publicist, Benito Perez-Barbadillo said during a telephone interview. “He’s going to start practicing again. He’s just not ready to compete. He’s not competing for himself here. This is not Rome or Madrid or even the French Open. This is competing for your country. You can’t go out there when someone else can be competing at full strength.”
The bailing out of Rafael Nadal gave the Spanish Tennis Federation time to name another Spanish player to fill his post in singles and doubles of the London Olympics. Feliciano Lopez will be playing for the singles category, while Nadal’s friend and occasional partner, Marc Lopez, will be playing in the doubles.
“I have to think about my companions,” Rafael Nadal said in his statement. “I can’t be selfish, and I have to think of what’s best for Spanish sport, especially tennis, and give up my spot to someone who has had better preparation than mine and is ready to compete.”
Perez-Barbadillo said that Rafael Nadal did not expect to travel to London during the Games, and the Spanish National Olympic Committee is expected to announce his replacement as flag bearer on Friday.
“It is bad news for Spanish sport but also bad news for Nadal himself,” president of Spain’s NOC, Alejandro Blanco said in a statement.
Blanco added that Rafael Nadal directly called him to inform him of his decision to bail out of the London Olympics. “I heard his voice and I could sense what he was feeling,” Blanco said. “I believe it’s a very difficult day for him. All we can do is give him our applause and support because this decision cost him a lot.”
The decision of the Spanish tennis player might have a major impact at the London Olympics, where Roger Federer, back at No. 1 in the rankings and fresh off his victory at Wimbledon, will no longer face the prospect of playing Rafael Nadal, who has dominated their head-to-head rivalry.
Toni Nadal told Spain’s RadioMarca that Rafael Nadal, who is now ranked third behind Djokovic and Federer, could certainly be back just in time to play in the year’s final Grand Slam tournament, the United States Open, which will begin on August 27.
But Toni Nadal added that this was probably Rafael’s last chance to play in the Olympics, and his knees continue to be a major issue. They forced him to retire in the quarterfinals of the 2010 Australian Open; they hindered him from playing at the 2009 Wimbledon, and this season, to rest in February and later bail out before the semifinals of the Sony Ericsson Open in March.