Rafael Nadal forced to withdraw from London Olympics
July 20, 2012 -- Updated 1847 GMT (0247 HKT)
Rafael Nadal has been forced to withdraw from the Olympics due to knee problems
- Reigning champion Nadal forced out of London Games by ongoing knee problem
- Tennis star was due to carry Spain's flag at opening ceremony
- Wimbledon organizer's new tournament dates from 2015
(CNN) -- Reigning Olympic champion Rafael Nadal has been forced to withdraw from the London 2012 Olympics due to ongoing knee problems.
Nadal, gold medallist four years ago in Beijing admitted he was "not in the right physical condition to compete" and that he had to "think about Spanish sport."
The world number two, who was due to carry Spain's flag at the opening ceremony, had already taken two weeks off in the buildup to the Olympics to recover from tendinitis in his knee
"I've waited until the final moment of my preparation and my training, but I cannot do it," Nadal said in a statement released to the Spanish press on Thursday.
Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi on Olympics
Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates after defeating Andy Murray of Great Britain to win his 7th Wimbledon championship in London on Sunday, July 8. Visit CNN.com/tennis for complete coverage.
Men's singles Wimbledon Championship
"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. One of my teammates who is better prepared than me can take my place and compete to the best of his ability."
The Spanish Tennis Federation announced that world number 30 Feliciano Lopez would take Nadal's spot in the singles competition. Marc Lopez, who has won doubles titles with Nadal on the ATP tour, will take his place in the doubles competition.
The Spanish Olympic Federation have chosen basketball star Pau Gasol as the new flag bearer.
Former world number one Nadal recorded his 11th grand slam win at June's French Open, but crashed out of Wimbledon in the second round to unfancied Czech player Lukas Rosol.
Nadal had only two weeks to make the transition from the clay courts of Roland Garros to Wimbledon's grass courts, but in future he will have longer to adapt.
Wimbledon organizers announced on Thursday that from 2015 there will be an extra week between the two slams.
Carrying the flag for Spain at the opening ceremony was set to be one of the biggest honors.
"The best interests of tennis will be served by allowing the players more time to recuperate and to adjust from the clay of Roland Garros to the grass at Wimbledon," said All England Club chairman Philip Brook.
"We think most players welcome the prospect of a longer grass court season and spending more time on the softer surface of grass.
"In making this change from 2015 we recognize that there will be some important consequences for the overall tennis calendar, and enough time needs to be given to allow us all to plan accordingly."
Part of complete coverage on
June 7, 2013 -- Updated 2101 GMT (0501 HKT)
For some of the biggest names in tennis, the French Open's red clay courts mean only heartbreak and shattered dreams.
June 6, 2013 -- Updated 1105 GMT (1905 HKT)
She drank alcohol on court, smoked "furiously" and horrified the establishment with her daring outfits and "unladylike" playing style.
May 28, 2013 -- Updated 1445 GMT (2245 HKT)
CNN's Open Court talks to the past five French Open women's champions ahead of the start of the tennis season's second grand slam tournament.
June 3, 2013 -- Updated 1337 GMT (2137 HKT)
CNN's Christina MacFarlane shows us how the French Open maintains its special surface.
June 2, 2013 -- Updated 1343 GMT (2143 HKT)
CNN's Christina MacFarlane shows us what it takes to be an umpire at Roland Garros.
May 27, 2013 -- Updated 1410 GMT (2210 HKT)
CNN visits the Paris jewelry store that crafts the replica trophies taken home by winners French Open winners.
May 21, 2013 -- Updated 0939 GMT (1739 HKT)
Nicknamed the "kissing disease," mononucleosis or glandular fever is a viral illness that is affecting tennis stars.
May 1, 2013 -- Updated 1129 GMT (1929 HKT)
She towers above him, but she can't do without him. Meet the man who has made Maria Sharapova the world's wealthiest female athlete.
April 22, 2013 -- Updated 1511 GMT (2311 HKT)
When Maria Sharapova underwent shoulder surgery five years ago, many thought her tennis career wouldn't last.
April 18, 2013 -- Updated 1258 GMT (2058 HKT)
Nine-year-old Rebecca Suarez stunned onlookers when she was pulled out of the crowd to team up with Del Potro against Nadal.
April 18, 2013 -- Updated 2115 GMT (0515 HKT)
Janko Tipsarevic is of the belief that his fellow professionals aren't doping -- or at least not on a widespread basis.
March 21, 2013 -- Updated 1429 GMT (2229 HKT)
Agnieszka and Urszula Radwanska are hoping to take their relationship to a new level by emulating tennis' most famous sisters.
March 21, 2013 -- Updated 1402 GMT (2202 HKT)
America's 18-time grand slam champion Chris Evert talks to Open Court about her career and training the next generation of players.
March 21, 2013 -- Updated 1344 GMT (2144 HKT)
CNN's Don Riddell speaks with 11-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal during one of his comeback tournaments in Mexico.
March 21, 2013 -- Updated 1411 GMT (2211 HKT)
Germany's veteran star Tommy Haas opens up to Pat Cash about being away from family on tour, and his many injuries.
March 11, 2013 -- Updated 1150 GMT (1950 HKT)
You'd think John Isner and Nicolas Mahut would be sick of the sight of each other, but their friendship has grown since that epic match.
March 4, 2013 -- Updated 1608 GMT (0008 HKT)
Almost a decade after Andy Roddick's sole U.S. Open victory, America is still waiting for its next male grand slam winner. What's gone wrong?
Today's five most popular stories