Rafael Nadal Withdraws from 2012 Olympics in London

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 19, 2012

There will be a new Olympic gold medalist in men's tennis this year, as defending champion Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the 2012 Summer Games in London, according to NBC Olympics on Twitter:

Although no specific explanation was given for Nadal's withdrawal, he simply said that he was not in condition to play.

While Nadal won the French Open this year, things haven't gone well for him since. Nadal lost to Philipp Kohlschreiber in the third round of the Gerry Weber Open in preparation for Wimbledon, and then was shockingly ousted by Lukas Rosol in the second round at Wimbledon.

It is quite clear that the Spanish star hasn't been at his best as of late, and while he has yet to confirm it, his decision to skip the Olympics would suggest that an injury of some sort is hampering him.

Nadal dropped to No. 3 in the world following his Wimbledon performance as champion Roger Federer moved up to No. 1 and Novak Djokovic fell to No. 2.

Nadal won it all at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, and one would think that Rafa had designs on doing it again in London. His absence means that the field is a little more open now, as tennis' top stars will compete at Wimbledon for the second time in a matter of weeks.

Federer would have to be considered the favorite, as he looks to make up for a poor 2008 performance in which he was eliminated by James Blake and failed to medal. Djokovic will also be in the running, and Wimbledon runner-up Andy Murray will be another threat to win gold in front of his many supporters.

There is no doubt that men's tennis in the Olympics won't be the same without one of the world's best players, but if Nadal didn't feel like he could be competitive, then you can't blame him for bowing out.

Nadal enters every tournament with the intention of winning, and if that wasn't a possibility in London, then he would have been cheating himself by playing.


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