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.”
©Daily Tennis News