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Because Of Injury Nadal Won't Play At London Games

Spain's Rafael Nadal looks on during his Wimbledon loss to Czech Republic's Lukas Rosol in June.
Miguel Medina
AFP/Getty Images
Spain's Rafael Nadal looks on during his Wimbledon loss to Czech Republic's Lukas Rosol in June.

Rafael Nadal announced he will not compete in the upcoming London Olympic Games.

The New York Times reports that in making the announcement, the tennis star called it one 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."

Had Nadal competed, he would have been in a position to defend the men's singles gold medal he won at the Beijing Games in 2008.

"I do not find myself in a condition to compete," he said, according to the Times. "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."

The AP reports that Nadal did not provide a hint of what kind of injury is keeping him sidelined, but they note that he cancelled a charity match on July 4 "because of tendon problems in his left knee."

ESPN says this has been a dramatic year for Nadal. ESPN also reads into what the vague statement may mean for the 26 year old:

"Perhaps Nadal purposely meant to be so vague. For here is a player whose 2012 season has been tumultuous, from the lows of losing an epic final to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final, to suffering a listless loss at Indian Wells to Roger Federer, to an injury walkover in Miami to Andy Murray. Then there was the redemptive clay season, in which he won four titles and beat Djokovic three times, including the French Open final. That gave Nadal a record seventh title, while denying Djokovic the career Grand Slam. However, Nadal suddenly spiraled on grass, losing a tune-up to Philipp Kohlschreiber and then came the shocker at Wimbledon, the five-set loss to 100th-ranked Lukas Rosol. And now this."

Basically, ESPN reports, this could be a make-or-break moment for Nadal. Has he succumbed to "physical and emotional burnout" or will he prove himself later over a "resurgent [Roger] Federer?"

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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