Rafael Nadal is pulling out of the 2012 Olympics. Not to worry, the injury is his oft hurt knee and doesn’t diminish the fact he won the gold medal in 2008. What I found more fascinating was the reaction about the injury itself.
I am not in a condition to be able to compete. It is one of the saddest moments of my career. I have to think of my colleagues. I cannot be selfish and I have to think of the well-being of Spanish sport, especially Spanish tennis, and let a colleague play who has had a better preparation and is in a state to compete.
Today is one of the saddest days of my career as it was one of my biggest dreams, and perhaps the most anticipated moment, to be the flag bearer at the opening ceremony for the Games in London. You can imagine how difficult it has been to take this decision.
The president of the Spanish Tennis Federation said:
It’s the worst news we could have. Rafa has always been an example of perseverance and tenacity, which makes it hard for him to miss out because surely he would have loved to return to the Games. I hope he recovers quickly.
Maybe it is a bit too soon for the Spaniard to revisit Wimbledon and the mental problems this may cause, particularly if he were to suffer another surprise defeat. Therefore, whatever the precise problems are for Nadal, he is, probably, making the right decision in focussing on the 2012 US Open.
The words “not in condition” from Rafa and “pain is strong” from Uncle Toni are ominous. Without other information it is difficult to see how he will get back on the tour to play any hard court tournaments in preparation for the final Grand Slam of the year at the U.S. Open.
I have no idea if it is a long term injury Nadal needs to fear, but I do know he isn’t getting any younger. Remember back in 2005 when Nadal had the big balls? I think he’ll be back.