Spaniard to compete despite wrist injury, while rivals Murray and Djokovic train for first time in new Olympic venue.
Rafael Nadal has confirmed that he will play at Rio 2016 despite suffering with a wrist injury as he prepares for the Olympic Games.
Speaking after training at the Olympic Tennis Centre in Rio on Tuesday (2 August), the Spanish team’s flag bearer was asked if he would be fit enough to compete.
“Yes,” he said. “I was talking with the whole team and the team decided that I am going to play, so I’m going to try to practise for the next couple of days.
“It’s not the ideal situation but my captain (Conchita Martinez) had confidence today that I am the best option to try to get a positive result for our country. So I practised six hours today. The wrist is not 100 per cent perfect but the best thing is that after the six hours of practice the wrist is not worse than yesterday. That is great news.”
Nadal tweeted this image of himself getting to bus to training in Rio
Asked whether he will play singles and doubles, Nadal said: “We need to talk with the captain but normally I’m going to play everything.”
Nadal, who won the singles title at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, said he was motivated by being back at the Games. “I’m excited to be in an Olympics. It is once every four years and you never know what is going on in the future. I lost London (2012 Olympic Games) so I’m excited to be here and I’m motivated to play.”
Meanwhile, defending Olympic champion and world no. 2 Andy Murray of Great Britain trained for the first time in Rio on Tuesday and spoke about how the Olympic Games have a special atmopshere.
“The whole atmosphere surrounding an Olympics especially is different,” Murray said. “You’re around loads of the best athletes in the world. You really want to perform well and do well for your country and also your team-mates. It well feels a lot more like a team environment. I’ve enjoyed that throughout my career and I hope I can perform well here.”
Murray also lamented to absence of Swiss duo Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka, who have both withdrawn because of injruy. “It’s unfortunate with Roger and with Stan. They’re obviously two guys who are great players and capable of winning at events like this, so it’s a great shame they aren’t here.
“But still it’s a pretty strong field. A lot of the top-20 players are here.”
The main obstacle in the path of Murray and Nadal will be world no.1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia, who also trained for the first time in Rio on Tuesday. The 12-time grand slam champion is seeking his first Olympic gold medal.