Thursday, July 19, 2012
Wow, it was rather shocking to hear the news this morning that reigning gold medalist Rafael Nadal has pulled out of the Olympics, claiming he is not in condition yet to compete. "I've waited until the final moment of my preparation and my training, but I cannot do it." "It is one of the saddest days of my career. You can imagine how difficult it was to take this decision." Nadal fan or not, you can't help but feel bad for him to have to miss such a huge event as this, not to mention no longer getting to have the honor of carrying the Spanish flag in the opening ceremonies.
While neither Federer or Djokovic would wish this for their co-competitor, they would have to admit this makes their road to the gold easier. Granted, they each still have to get through the early rounds to be in contention, and that can be one of the most difficult parts. There aren't many easy matches in this 64-man draw, and things can get away quickly in best of 3 matches, as confirmed by Roger Federer not yet having any medal in singles in his previous visits to the Olympics. However, this new development will, I'm sure, put even more fire into each of them to make sure they are on the podium listening to their national anthem. And not to mention the number 1 ranking again is on the line, with Federer only 75 points ahead in the race.
Of course, this doesn't even address the upcoming hard court season. Likely this is related to Rafa's continued issues with knee tendinitis, and hard courts are the worst for this condition. Makes things even more interesting, being that he has a lot of ranking points to defend from last year's final at the U.S. Open.
In the meantime, though, anticipation is building and I am anxiously awaiting next Friday's opening ceremonies in London!