World No. 5 Rafael Nadal, whose participation at the Olympics had been uncertain following a wrist injury, confirmed today he would be a part of the Olympic Games, due to begin in Rio de Janeiro this week.
Sidelined by a left wrist injury, Nadal has not played competitive tennis since withdrawing from the French Open – his most successful Grand Slam, and the venue of nine of his Majors titles.
The Spaniard also sat out Wimbledon as a result of the injury, which seriously affected him after what had been a stupendous clay court season for the 30-year-old.
Nadal’s participation had been unclear until a few days ago, when compatriot David Ferrer revealed Nadal was unsure of his participation in the singles, but the 14-time Grand Slam winner has now revealed he will “...play everything I can.”
He is due to play in the singles, partner French Open winner Garbine Muguruza in the mixed doubles, with 21st ranked doubles player Marc Lopez likely to partner him in the men’s doubles. Like many Spanish players, Lopez is most successful on clay, and this year won his maiden Grand Slam title – taking the French Open title with partner and countryman Feliciano Lopez.
Having already missed the 2012 Olympic Games in London with a knee injury, Nadal will be relieved to have been given the all-clear to play. He has won Olympic gold before, beating Fernando Gonzalez of Chile to the title at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Although he is said to likely be partnered by Marc Lopez, Nadal has for the time being been sparring with David Ferrer; Spain’s coach and captain, Grand Slam winner Conchita Martinez, and Tennis Spain’s medical squad both gave Nadal the all-clear to participate.
The 9-time French Open winner is already in Rio ahead of the games, and will be a flagbearer for Spain at the opening ceremony.