"I'm not in a condition to be able to compete. I have to think of my colleagues, I cannot be selfish and I have to think of the well-being of Spanish sport, especially Spanish tennis, and let a colleague play who has had a better preparation and is in a state to compete," Nadal said yesterday.
"I pushed until the last moment in my preparations, in training, but it wasn't to be. Today is one of the saddest days of my career as it was one of my biggest dreams, and perhaps the most anticipated moment to be the flag bearer at the opening ceremony for the Games in London. You can imagine how difficult it has been to take this decision," he added.
The forced withdrawal deprived the world number three of a chance to defend the Olympic gold medal he won at Beijing four years ago. In the first week of Jun, Nadal triumphed for a record 7th time at Roland Garros but later that same month he was defeated by a Czech player Lukas Rosol, incidentally ranked 97 places below him, in the second round of Wimbledon.
The Spanish tennis federation has already selected Feliciano Lopez as Nadal's replacement in the men's singles. Serbia's Novak Djokovic is the top seed at the London Games.
It is still not clear which sportsperson will carry Spain's flag at the Olympics opening ceremony on Jul 27. According to the media here, Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez, champions in sailing, or basketball silver medallist Pau Gasol could be chosen for the honour.