Fellow Spaniard slams reason why Rafael Nadal can play in Olympics

Nadal's drive to participate in the Olympics might be keeping one fellow Spaniard out of the games.
Rafael Nadal and the Olympics
Rafael Nadal and the Olympics / Frey/TPN/GettyImages

Rafael Nadal really loves playing in the Olympics. He won gold in the 2008 event in singles and then won doubles gold in 2016. He wants to play in 2024 as well. The issue can get complicated when it comes to playing in one tournament every four years, though.

If Nadal is healthy enough to play at the Olympics, he will. That could also end up being his final tournament as a professional tennis player. He has not made any official commitments to retire at the end of 2024 (or during the year), but many assume he will call it a proverbial day. This was the case at the French Open recently when he lost in the first round and the crowd cheered him as if it would be the last time they would see him play the event.

The Olympics in 2024 are going to be held at the same venue where the French Open is held, oddly enough, so while Nadal might be done playing at the clay-court major, he likely is not done playing an event on Paris clay. He might not have said goodbye for good at the French Open on center court in Paris, but he could do so at the Olympics.

Rafael Nadal over Pedro Martinez appears to be the way for Spain at the Olympics

Nadal being able to play has one of his fellow countrymen a bit miffed. Nadal has a protected ranking so even though he has missed a lot of time over the last year and a half, his ranking allows him to sneak into the Olympics. His participation means Pedro Martinez cannot play. Without the ranking protection for Nadal, Martinez would be representing Spain, not Nadal.

Speaking with the media at the French Open, Martinez said, "...the protected ranking is an injustice because neither (Nadal or Martinez) has missed the Olympic Games due to being injured, regardless of whether it is Rafa, who we all want to see in the Olympic Games, including me as a fan. I don’t see it as entirely fair. It’s as if I get injured now and in four years I use the protected ranking in the Los Angeles Games. I think that this year I deserve to go to the Olympic Games. And not going because of a situation like this is a bit unfair."

Rafael Nadal discusses being watch at the French Open. dark. Next. Rafael Nadal discusses being watch at the French Open

Nadal is going to play, and when healthy, he might give his country a better chance to win a medal than would Martinez. Martinez, however, is ranked 48 currently while Nadal is 275. In a normal world, Martinez would be at the Olympics and Nadal would be home watching.

There is also the likelihood that neither player will be able to participate in 2028. Nadal will be retired, and Martinez will be 31. He might also be done playing professional tennis.

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