Announcing just last week that due to an unspecified injury he would be withdrawing from competing at the Games, Nadal also had to see the honour of carrying his native country’s flag in the opening ceremony pass to a fellow Spanish athlete. “It was the most difficult decision which I have taken in my career and possibly the saddest” he told local Spanish television over the weekend, however he remains positive and his “goal is now to continue to worked hard to try to have another chance in Rio in 2016”.
Aged just 26 and despite having a record-breaking career to equal players twice his age, provided that Nadal takes care of his injuries and is able to sustain his form over the next four years he has every chance of making it to the Olympic team again in 2016. Already holding a gold medal from Beijing in 2008 the Olympics has always held a special place in the Spaniard’s heart, however he is saddened at missing the “unique opportunity” to play Olympic tennis on the grass courts of Wimbledon.
It has been confirmed that replacements have been made for both Spain’s flag-bearer and its tennis team. Basketball player Pau Gasol will be taking a temporary break from the Los Angeles Lakers to carry the Spanish flag in the opening ceremony, a choice that Nadal is happy with – “I think he is a fabulous representative of Spain…I wish him the best and I hope he enjoys the experience a great deal”. Feliciano Lopez will have a very hard act to follow as he replaces Nadal in the singles team, and Marc Lopez has been confirmed to partner Marcel Granollers in the doubles team.