What Made Rafael Nadal to Participate in Rio Olympics

By Obaid ur Rehman.

We have witnessed many times in the world of sports that players devote themselves and feel honoured to represent their respective countries. Be it individual game or team game, passion and love for the country are always there in players’ hearts. Talking about some mega events, it has been players’ dream to represent their countries and make their nations proud. Tennis is an individual game where players play individually except Davis Cup Tournament where they represent their countries but usually individual games are being played on various courts.

Known as Spanish Matador, Rafael Nadal, former World No. 1 is all known for his mega records and aggressive style. Being titled as King of Clay, Rafael Nadal is famous as best Clay-Court Player in the history of tennis. He has won 49 singles title on clay surface out of 69 titles in total, including 9 French Open Titles as well (Stands Alone). Nadal’s love for his family and country is unmatchable, he has always given importance to his family members and to country whenever he has been given with an opportunity and a chance. While other big names in tennis used to avoid playing Davis Cup so that they could retain their fitness for individual games, it was Nadal who has always preferred to play Davis Cup because of the fact that he always wanted to do something for the country.

Rafael Nadal is been through to the worst ever bad patch of his career for about more than one year, because of injuries and contest between mental strength and physical fitness. Yet he has always tried his best to deliver results and not to disappoint his fans across the globe. 9 times French Open Champion eventually had to withdraw from French Open this year before Third Round due to his left arm wrist injury, which could not even made it possible for him to compete in Wimbledon and had to skip rest of the grass season as well. Olympics were too near and it was very crucial moment for Nadal to decide either to skip or to participate in the competition. Nadal had also missed 2012 London Olympics because of the multiple injuries, where he had to defend his title which he won back in 2008 Beijing Olympics. Nadal eventually made the decision and decided to participate in Rio de Janeiro because he knew that he might not be able to play in 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

What Made Rafael Nadal to Participate in Rio Olympics

Nadal is the only player to win Career Golden Slam (All 4 Grand Slams & an Olympic Gold Medal)

It was pretty much tough call for Nadal because he was well aware of that fact, that the ongoing wrist’s condition won’t allow him to play his best. Nadal hasn’t played since May 2016 but all he was thinking is the Spanish Flag and his country for which he really wanted to participate in Rio de Janeiro Olympics. He made the final call and decided to return to tennis circuit, but this time, for the country, by admitting as well that due to the wrist injury, he won’t be at his best level. The Spaniard, 2008 Beijing Olympics Champion (Only Active Tennis Player to have completed Career Golden Slam) will be participating in Men’s Singles, Men’s Doubles (alongside Marc Lopez) and in the Mixed Doubles he will play alongside with the French Open Champion Garbine Muguruza.

As, I have mentioned it earlier that Rafael Nadal’s physical conditions do not look perfect due to wrist injury and absence from tennis courts for about 3 months. Also, with the addition of all the other several problems including absence of top-players due to managerial problems of event and presence of Zika Virus in the region, the decision to play in all three categories of Tennis competition obviously seems risky, especially when just after Olympics, the Cincinnati and the US Open are the next ones in line. With the fact, that all the energy could get wasted here in Olympics keeping in view the final part of the 2016 season, but it is probably only the Spaniard who has decided to show utmost professionalism and patriotism by participating in Rio Olympics which of course shows great sporting spirit and true essence of Olympic Games. This could be the probable reason that he was being chosen as Flag-Bearer for Spain, a moment which every player dreams off. Nadal richly deserved it and he truly earned it to be the one to carry the Spanish Flag in the opening ceremony of 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

What Made Rafael Nadal to Participate in Rio Olympics_Carrying Flag

Rafael Nadal is the Flag Bearer for Spain in Opening Ceremony of 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics

Usually, Tennis players prefer to maintain their physical fitness with respect to the yearly scheduled tournaments and barely prefer to participate in various kinds of leagues so that risk of getting injured can be minimized to maximum. Olympic Games come after a long gap of four years which great champions and players love to honour. Talking about Nadal, honouring the biggest sporting event of the world, inspite of wrist injuries, long absence from tennis courts and risking his fitness levels for rest of the season, truly make his spirit beyond the sport and his love for his country unmatchable. Nadal’s spirit thus can be considered as a real example, both for his fellow colleagues and future generations of tennis players.

Obaid ur Rehman

The writer is Islamabad based Journalist / Research Analyst and writes on Politics, Social Issues and on Sports. He can be reached at;

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