Madrid, Spain – Reigning men's tennis Olympic gold medalist Rafael Nadal has pulled out of the upcoming 2012 Games due to physical problems.
"I am not in the right physical condition to compete at the London Olympics, and for this reason I will not travel as arranged with the Spanish delegation," said the world No. 3 superstar.
The former world No. 1 Nadal had been set to carry the Spanish flag into London's Olympic Stadium next week.
"I have to think about my teammates, I cannot be an egotist and think about myself here. I have to think about Spanish sport, and that one of my teammates who is better prepared than me can take my place and compete to the best of his ability.
"Today is one of the saddest days in my career. Carrying the flag for Spain at the opening ceremony was set to be one of the biggest honors, one of the most special moments for me. For this reason I hope you can understand how difficult it has been for me to take this decision."
The 26-year-old Nadal captured his seventh French Open title last month, but was then shocked by little-known Czech Lukas Rosol in a second-round match at Wimbledon a few weeks later in one of the biggest upsets in the history of the sport.
The Olympic portion of the '12 Summer Games will be staged at the All England Club, the famed site of the Wimbledon Championships.
Nadal captured a gold medal for Spain four years ago in Beijing, beating Chile's Fernando Gonzalez in the final. The 11-time major titlist owns a career "Golden Slam," which is Olympic gold and all four Grand Slam titles.
The great Nadal has appeared in five of the last six major finals, going 2-3.
The top medal contenders in London will be world No. 1 Wimbledon champion Roger Federer, second-ranked U.S. and Australian Open winner Novak Djokovic, and British favorite, Wimbledon runner-up Andy Murray.