Olympic champion Rafa Nadal’s withdrawal from the London Games because of injury deprived the tournament of one of its biggest attractions and left Spain reeling on Thursday.
The gold-medal winner in Beijing four years ago has failed to recover from a knee problem and so will also miss out on the honor of carrying his nation’s flag at the opening ceremony.
The Spanish tennis federation (RFET) said Feliciano Lopez would be his replacement in the singles, while Marc Lopez would step in to partner Marcel Granollers in the doubles.
The country’s Olympic committee said a meeting yesterday was set to decide on a replacement flag bearer for the July 27 parade.
“I’m not in a condition to be able to compete,” Nadal, 26, said in a statement. “It’s one of the saddest moments of my career.”
Nadal won a record seventh French Open title last month, but crashed out in the second round at Wimbledon in a big upset against lowly ranked Czech Lukas Rosol.
Earlier this month, he pulled out of a charity match against Novak Djokovic at Real Madrid’s Bernabeu stadium saying he was suffering from tendinitis and needed to rest.