Rafael Nadal pulls out of London Olympics

Spain's Rafael Nadal leaves the court after losing

Spain's Rafael Nadal leaves the court after losing his second round men's singles match against Czech Republic's Lukas Rosol on day four of the 2012 Wimbledon Championships tennis tournament. (June 28, 2012) (Credit: Getty Images)

MADRID - Defending Olympic champion Rafael Nadal pulled out of the London Games with an undisclosed fitness problem Thursday, ending his chances of winning a second straight gold medal.

"I am not in condition to compete in the London Olympics and therefore will not travel as planned with the Spanish delegation to take part in the games," the third-ranked Spaniard said in a statement.

Nadal did not mention any specific injury, but he canceled a charity match in Madrid on July 4 because of tendon problems in his left knee. He has had recurring knee problems in the past. He has not played since he was eliminated in the second round of Wimbledon to then 100th-ranked Lukas Rosol, one of the most surprising results in the tournament's history.

"I have to think about my companions, I can't be selfish and I have to think of what's best for Spanish sport, especially tennis and Spanish players and give fellow sportsmen with better preparation the chance to compete," he said.

"I tried to hurry my preparations and training to the very last minute, but it was not to be," he added.

Nadal, who won the singles tournament at the 2008 Beijing Games, was set to be the flag bearer for Spain during the opening ceremony.

He said that the decision "is one of the saddest days of my career as one of my biggest ambitions, that of being Spain's flag bearer in the opening ceremony of the games in London, cannot be. You can imagine how difficult it was to take this decision."
 

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