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Spanish tennis star Nadal pulls out of London Olympics

French Open men's champion Rafael Nadal says an injury will keep him from competing this month in London.

By Harold HeckleAssociated Press / July 19, 2012

Tennis player Rafael Nadal, the official Spanish flag barrier at the London Olympics, speaks during a handover ceremony in Madrid in this file photo taken July 14. Reigning Olympic champion Nadal will miss the London Olympics after failing to recover from injury, the Spaniard said on Thursday.

Juan Medina/REUTERS

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Madrid

Defending Olympic tennis champion Rafael Nadal pulled out of the London Games on Thursday with an undisclosed injury.

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"I am not in condition to compete in the London Olympics and therefore will not travel as planned with the Spanish delegation to take part in the games," the third-ranked Spaniard said in a statement.

Nadal did not mention any specific injury, but he canceled a charity match in Madrid on July 4 because of tendon problems in his left knee. He has had recurring knee problems in the past.

Nadal has not played since losing in the second round of Wimbledon to then 100th-ranked Lukas Rosol, one of the most surprising results in the tournament's history.

"I have to think about my companions, I can't be selfish and I have to think of what's best for Spanish sport, especially tennis and Spanish players, and give fellow sportsmen with better preparation the chance to compete," he said. "I tried to hurry my preparations and training to the very last minute, but it was not to be."

Nadal, who won the singles tournament at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was set to be the flag bearer for Spain during the opening ceremony.

"(This) is one of the saddest days of my career as one of my biggest ambitions, that of being Spain's flag bearer in the opening ceremony of the games in London, cannot be," Nadal said. "You can imagine how difficult it was to take this decision."

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