Manacor, July 19, 2012
Rafa Nadal won't compete at the London Olympics.
"I am not in in condition to compete. This is one of the saddest moments of my career."
Spanish tennis player Rafa Nadal won't be able to compete in the London Olympics, announces today.
Rafa Nadal: “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"
"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. I tried to hurry my preparations and training to the very last minute, but it was not to be "
It 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."
Rafa’s message to us today. It makes very sad reading, doesn’t it? In the three years plus that I’ve been doing this blog, there’s been some posts that have been hard to write.
And this one is right up there.
But then again ... its not as difficult as the one Rafa had to do today to announce his withdrawal from the Olympic Games.
If you could write a “Dear Rafa” letter to him, what would you say? How very sad you are for him? How heart-breaking it must be to have to pass up on leading the Spanish team into the Olympic arena carrying the flag for his country? What was one of the quotes that came out of the ceremony at Spain’s Olympic HQ last weekend? Rafa isn’t just the flag bearer for Spain, he IS the flag.
I think my letter to him would be to tell him to maintain his courage. There are so many qualities that this young man possesses that I admire ... but his courage is right on up there. The courage to keep on working and keep on fighting when he had his serious foot injury in 2006, The courage he showed to not let there be a repetition of the 2007 Wimbledon result and to keep on fighting to the end, to victory in 2008. The courage that he must have privately had to have to face and work through the devastating news of his parents’ situation in 2009. The courage he showed in doing everything he could to be fit for Wimbledon in 2009, and then to face them personally to tell of them of his withdrawal. The courage it took to come back from that injury ... the hardcourt defeats, the breakdown at the Australian Open 2010. The courage to endure the painful PRP treatments, the courage to keep on working through the pain to triumph in that stunning clay court season that year. The courage not just to win one Slam in 2010, but two, then three ... the US Open being the final piece in the jigsaw. The one that the naysayers said that he would never win, that he would never have.
And what courage did it take last year, to keep turning up to all those finals, to have to face all those defeats, but then to keep working, and keep trying. And when he was nearly there in Australia this year, to remain positive and to see so much of what was good about what he did in that final. Courage. And indomitable spirit, guts, balls, character, heart, passion ... and pure goodness. Our Rafa.
The signs started in Miami with his withdrawal. He still came through for Monte Carlo though, and his work ethic and courage saw him finally beat both his mental demons and his opponent on his rise to being King of Clay once more. It seems he played in pain throughout the French Open this year, and those spectacular scenes we witnessed in victory were so sweet for him, his family and his team because they alone will have known just what it took for him to win there.
I’m devastated for Rafa on so many scores. Because of the injury, because of him not being able to defend his Olympic title, because of him not being able to have what would have been one of his proudest moments in carrying the flag, because of what all this might mean for him on the road for his recovery. And I will express my own personal sadness that the thrill last year of knowing I’d been successful in the Olympic ballot and would see Rafa defend his title is gone for me and so many of his fans.
We don’t know what the next few weeks or months are going to bring for him ... we just wish him well. From a radio interview that Toni did today, he expressed that the injury is serious, perhaps the worst that Rafa has ever had. For a man with so much goodness in him ... I think its about bloody time he’s gets a lucky break. Lets hope the longer term prognosis comes out a bit better.
I also hope that that legendary courage doesn’t fail him, but I do marvel about the strength of character that is within him, to keep coming back from these painful setbacks. I just hope that he takes whatever time is necessary – even if it means missing the rest of the season – to get himself better, and to get himself in good health. Because tennis without him in it, is a sad and passionless place, but I only want him back in it when he’s fit, healthy, can manage the pain and is raring to go.
As for us ... well, I’ll tell you what we’ll do. We’ll turn up at Wimbledon for the Olympics, in our Rafa shirts, draped in our Spanish flags, with our red and yellow pom poms ... and we will bloody well sing our hearts out for the lad.
Good luck Rafa. We wish all the best. And as always ... VAMOS !!!!!!!