x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Rafael Nadal's Rio dreams are unlikely to come to fruition

Four years from now, the 2008 Olympic singles champion will be 30 and many experts doubt his chronic knee tendinitis will allow him to play for that long, and definitely not at the pace he plays at.

Rafael Nadal will not defend his Olympic title in London.
Rafael Nadal will not defend his Olympic title in London.

After announcing his withdrawal from the London Olympic Games, Rafael Nadal, promised to "work hard and try to do the things that will create another opportunity in Rio de Janeiro 2016".

Does the Spaniard really believe he could make a return to the Olympic Games in Brazil four years from now?

According to Toni Nadal, his uncle and coach, Rio could just be a pipe dream.

"Rafa was aware of the fact that these would be the last Olympics, so you can imagine how he feels right now," Toni was quoted as saying in the Spanish press. "Losing this opportunity is more painful than any other tournament because while each year there are slams, the Olympics are only once every four years. It's something really sad."

Four years from now, the 2008 Olympic singles champion will be 30 and many experts doubt his chronic knee tendinitis will allow him to play for that long, and definitely not at the pace he plays at.

The problem first came to the surface when Nadal, the defending champion then, was forced to withdraw from the 2009 Wimbledon. In 2010, he withdrew at the Australian Open against Andy Murray with the same problem, and it happened again in the Miami semi-final earlier this year.

Nadal is not getting younger and his knee is not getting any healthier, so Rio remains a distant dream but tennis fans will be hoping it turns to reality.

arizvi@thenational.ae

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