OLYMPICS

Nadal pulls out of Games with knee injury

Beijing gold medalist was also to have carried Spain’s flag at London 2012 opening ceremony

Nadal at the announcement that he would be Spain's flag-bearer.
Nadal at the announcement that he would be Spain's flag-bearer.ÁLVARO GARCÍA

Rafael Nadal has announced that he will not compete in the London Olympics after failing to overcome a knee problem that has dogged him for some months.

“I am not in a condition to be able to compete,” the world number three, who won singles gold in Beijing four years ago, said in an official communiqué. “I have to think about my colleagues. I cannot be selfish and I have to think about the good of Spanish sport, especially Spanish tennis, and let one of my colleagues who has better preparation and is in the right condition to play do so. I pushed myself until the last moment in my training schedule but it wasn’t to be.”

Nadal, who was also to carry the Spanish flag in the opening ceremony next Friday, will be replaced by Feliciano López in the singles tournament. The Spanish Tennis Federation is yet to decide on a partner for Marcel Granollers, who was to have played with Nadal in the doubles. The Spanish Olympic Committee is also pondering a flag-bearing replacement for the Mallorcan, with sailor Iker Martínez, Spain’s most-decorated current Olympian, the front-runner. Basketball star Pau Gasol is also an option.

Today is one of the saddest days of my career; it was a hard decision to take"

Nadal underwent two ultrasound scans during Wimbledon, where he was eliminated in the second round. He had been suffering from knee problems since the Miami Masters tournament in the spring, where he was obliged to withdraw at the semifinal stage. After Wimbledon, Nadal consulted the federation doctor, who is also the player’s personal physician, Ángel Cotorro, and Mikel Sánchez who administered injections that required Nadal to rest completely for 15 days.

“Today is one of the saddest days of my career as one of the most exciting moments was to be the flag-bearer for Spain in the opening ceremony. In view of this, you can imagine how difficult it was to take this decision.”

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