Spanish tennis champion Rafael Nadal has pulled out of the 2012 Olympic Games. Nadal won the singles final in Beijing 2008 and was expected to defend his title in London.
The 26-year-old tennis star is suffering from tendinitis of the knee, a condition that has afflicted him throughout his brilliant career. “I did not find myself able to compete,” he said in a statement released July 19th, “it is one of my saddest moments.”
Nadal has won eleven Grand Slam titles and is currently ranked third in the world. The “King of Clay,” who has won 247 out of 266 career matches on the crushed-brick court, was expected to accompany the Spanish contingent and carry his nation’s flag in London.
“I can not be selfish,” Nadal explained about his condition, “I have to think about the Spanish sport, especially Spanish tennis.” he went on to say that it was better to “let a team-mate that is better prepared” take his place in his country’s Olympic delegation.
Tendinitis prevented Nadal from completing a charity match against Serbian Novak Djokovic in 2009.
On his last tournament appearance, the two-time Wimbledon champion was eliminated in the second round at the All England Club in June.
Nadal beat Fernando Gonzalez of Chile in the men’s singles final at Beijing four years ago and took the gold medal home. The Spanish champion will be watching the action from the stands in London but hopes to be fit for the US Open on August 27th.