Photo: Rafael Nadal
Being selected to carry the Spanish flag at the London Olympic Games “is something very special and unforgettable,” tennis star Rafael Nadal said.
“I want to thank all the federations that have given me this opportunity. The Games are the most important sporting event in the world, for any athlete it means reaching your goal,” Nadal said.
Nadal, who is ranked No. 3 in the world after making an early exit at Wimbledon, said he was excited to take part in the Olympics once more.
“In Beijing 2008, when I lived in the Village with everybody, I discovered what the Olympic spirit is all about. I think it was the best experience I’ve had in my career,” Nadal said during the event Saturday at which he received the flag he will bear during the opening ceremony in London.
Nadal won the men’s singles gold medal in Beijing and also is the holder of 11 Grand Slam singles titles, the most recent coming in Paris, where he won a record seventh French Open in June.
The Spanish star’s triumph at Roland Garros, however, was followed by a stunning second-round loss at Wimbledon to 100th-ranked Czech Lukas Rosol.
The Olympic tennis tournament will be held on the grass at the All England Club, where Nadal won singles titles in 2008 and 2010.
Nadal, who has battled knee problems in recent years, said he was making progress in his preparations for the Olympics.
“I am doing everything possible to recover. After Roland Garros, I had a difficult time, but the hopes are at a maximum, the work is total and I expect to be at 100 percent” in London, Nadal said.