Tennis fans were left in shock when the news that Rafael Nadal will no more defend the gold medal he won four years back at the Beijing Olympics came out after an announcement from the Spaniard. Nadal has pulled out of the Olympics due to a knee injury and said that he would not be able to compete.
According to Reuters, though his statement gave no official reason other than overall condition, reports are out that Nadal’s withdrawal is due to the on-going problems with his knees. The Spaniard is the only active player to complete the career Golden Slam and said he tried to rehabilitate and prepare as quickly as possible for the Olympics after his second-round exit from Wimbledon, but time simply ran out.
“I do not find myself in a condition to compete,” he said. “It is one of the saddest moments of my career. I tried to hurry my preparations and training to the very last minute, but it was not to be.” Sources have revealed that Nadal’s spot will be taken by Feliciano Lopez, though the ITF has confirmed.
The knees stopped Nadal from being able to defend his Wimbledon title in 2009 and certainly hindered him in his surprise loss to Robin Soderling that year at the French Open.
A leg injury put a stop to his attempt to capture the “Rafa Slam” at the Australian Open in 2011, and earlier this year he confessed that a freak knee injury almost forced him to withdraw from the Australian Open. Given his second-round exit at Wimbledon last month, Nadal would have had four weeks to rest his body for the Olympics.
Spots polymaths are of the opinion that Roger Federer is already the presumptive favourite heading into the London Games and with no Nadal to stop him, the numbers say this is as close to a lock as the Games allow. With his rise to No. 1, Federer can’t meet Djokovic before the final, and Nadal’s withdrawal definitely increases the likelihood of that happening. Neither Federer nor Djokovic will have to go through two of the top three to win the gold.
Obviously, Nadal’s absence may have to buoy up the field for Federer. Taking three sets off Federer on grass is virtually an impossible task, one that’s rarely been done. But some believe that the Olympic format, wherein all matches before the final are played as best of three, actually hurts Federer. There’s more random chance involved in a best of three shootout, especially on grass, and Federer’s own stats prove that.
He hasn’t won a grass title lead-up tournament since 2008, having lost to Lleyton Hewitt and Tommy Haas in the finals of Halle since then. Therefore, it is believed that Nadal’sabsence is definitely a boon to Federer’s chances of finally winning a singles gold medal and complete the career Golden Slam, but the early rounds are going to be a minefield.
Some pundits are also tipping Andy Murray for the gold, as the man- Nadal who beat him in the 2010 and 2011 Wimbledon semi-finals has withdrawn from the fray. Since Murray moves into the number-three slot, he’ll probably meet Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals, a daunting match up and which does not bode well for him.
Some analysts postulated that games are usually full of surprises and wonders that it will be difficult to predict the winner prior to the end of the game. For instance, in 1992, World No. 1 Jim Courier, playing on his favoured clay, failed to reach the medal round.
In 2000, number-one Marat Safin and number-two Gustavo Kuerten went out early. Federer has played in three Summer Games and still doesn’t have a medal in singles. At the Beijing Olympics, he fell to James Blake, who was 0-8 against Roger going into the match.
So, they believe that if Murray can contrive to get through his semi-final, assuming he reaches the semi-finals, he could be facing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Tomas Berdych in the final, which will prove a boon to him in his quest for the Olympic gold.
These pundits are of the opinion that the likes of Juan Martin delPotro, John Isner and Andy Roddick should not be written off in the competition. For long now, Juan Martin delPotro has been close to getting back to the top.
According to him, he is leaving no stone unturned to achieve this with the help of London Olympics. John Isner and Andy Roddick are also not left out; as they are gird up their loins to make a noticeable impact in the London Olympic fray.
Since tennis’ return to the Olympics in 1988, the men’s World No. 1 and World No. 2 face off in a gold-medal match has not been witnessed, but could happen sooner or later.
The news came in with the buzz as who will be the new gold medalist, with Roger Federer already having won the Wimbledon title on the same court this year against Andy Murray, who is playing the best tennis of his life and the former world No.1 Novak Djokovic bidding for the Gold, will make the tennis event at the London Olympics a treat for the spectators.