Rafael Nadal’s Olympic Participation is Questionable
epa03225709 Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal celebrates after beating his compatriot David Ferrer in their semi final match at the Italian Open Tennis Tournament, in the Central Stadium, at the Foro Italico in Rome, Italy, 19 May 2012. Nadal won 7-6, 6-0. EPA/CLAUDIO ONORATI |
Rafael Nadal, gold medalist in singles when Olympic tennis was contested in Beijing nearly four years ago, has stressed concerns he will not be fully fit for his attempt to become the first man to successfully defend an Olympic tennis title at London 2012 when play begins in just 12 days time.
The world no.3, is scheduled to carry the Spanish flag at the opening ceremony a day previously but his persistent knee problems, that caused him to pull out of the proposed exhibition match at Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu Stadium are causing concern.
Nadal is back on the practice court after vacation time in Ibiza and Sardinia. Speaking as he received the flag from the Spanish Olympic Committee, the 11-time Grand Slam winner said: “I am doing everything possible to recover. After Roland Garros I had a difficult time, but the excitement is at its maximum, I am working as hard as I can and hopefully I will be at 100%.
“I am the one who is most worried. I hope that things improve and my intention is to arrive in London well prepared and recuperated. It is for this that I work every day. Carrying the flag will the something unforgettable and I hope that Spain continue on the path of success it has been on for the past few years.”
Nadal, who won Wimbledon in 2008 and 2010, has been competitively inactive for two and a half weeks after his surprise Wimbledon second round exit at the hands of the Czech Republic’s Lukas Rosol.
However the 26 year-old Majorcan maintains that defeat has not dented his confidence on grass. “Opponents intimidate everyone, you can’t hide when you are competing against the best,” said Nadal who beat Novak Djokovic in the Beijing final to win gold.
“You go onto court knowing that you can win or lose. You have to accept both things. I have already had years of competing and I know that there are bad moments and defeats.”
Nadal maintains the Olympic title possesses more kudos than any other high prized trophies in the tennis world but it is only contested every four years. “This is the hardest title to win because in the career of a tennis player you only get two or three opportunities,” he said.
“I feel very fortunate to have been as I was that week in Beijing. I had the luck to arrive at almost an impeccable moment.”
Rafael Nadal got in some much-needed match practice on Monday ahead of his first-round singles match at the China Open, albeit in a losing effort. Nadal, who last played at Wimbledon before being sidelined by a wrist injury, teamed up with fellow Spaniard Pablo Andujar and fell to Tomas Berdych and John Isner 7-5, 4-6, 10-4.
Missing among all the great headlines at the Red Rock Pro Open in Las Vegas this week was how the 24-year-old worked her way through the draw without dropping a set, including a dominating performance on Sunday in a 6-1, 6-4 final win over rival Michelle Larcher De Brito of Portugal to capture the $7,600 winner singles check at the USTA Women’s $50,000 Pro Circuit event played at the Red Rock Country Club.
Rafael Nadal's first-round singles match against Richard Gasquet is not on Monday's China Open schedule, but the world No. 2 will be back in action in a different capacity. After being sidelined for three months with a wrist injury, Nadal is teaming up with Pablo Andujar in the doubles draw and they will kick off their campaign against Tomas Berdych and John Isner.