Tennis: Nadal still expecting to play in Rio

Rafael Nadal during the 2016 French Open at Roland Garros. Photo / Getty Images
Rafael Nadal during the 2016 French Open at Roland Garros. Photo / Getty Images

Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal says he expects to play at the Rio Olympic Games and hopes to be well-prepared for the competition.

Nadal, a 14-time grand slam champion, disappointed fans when he was forced to pull out of Wimbledon, Queen's Club and Roland Garros, where he had won the French Open a record nine times, citing a wrist injury.

"I hope to improve a bit every day and be well prepared for Rio, although, as I always say, nothing is ever certain in life," he said in his hometown of Manacor, a small village on the Balearic island of Mallorca.

Nadal displayed optimism when asked about his recovery process from the wrist injury that had also kept him out of the upcoming Rogers Cup in Toronto.

"I feel fine, am working hard and recovering."

Nadal said the timing was correct to make his decision as there were two-and-a-half weeks left until the start of the Games.

Concerns about the Spanish star's fitness became acute when he pulled out of Wimbledon, where he had appeared in five finals during his career.

The 'king of clay' had won the grasscourt championship twice and been a runner-up in 2006, 2007 and 2011.

Nadal expressed his appreciation for the "recognition" implied in being the designated flag bearer for the Spanish delegation at the Rio Olympics.

He also said that taking part in the Olympics is an experience that an athlete can "very seldom" enjoy in his career.

"I hope everything turns out well this time, unlike in London," he added, in reference to the 2012 edition of the Olympics, in which he was unable to compete due to an injury.

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