Defending champion Rafael Nadal pulled out of the London Olympics on Thursday with an undisclosed injury, leaving the tennis competition without one of its leading stars and robbing Spain’s team of its flag bearer for the opening ceremony.
Nadal won the French Open for a record seventh time this year but has struggled with left knee problems at times during the season. Shortly after winning his 11th Grand Slam title at Roland Garros, he lost to 100th-ranked Lukas Rosol in the second round at Wimbledon.
Nadal has not played since.
The third-ranked Nadal said Thursday he wasn’t in condition to compete at the Olympic tennis tournament — which also will be held at Wimbledon.
“This is one of the saddest moments of my career,” Nadal said.
U.S. MEN ROUT BRITAIN
Deron Williams was in, Carmelo Anthony out, and both were better for it.
Of course, it wouldn’t have mattered what lineup the U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team used against an inexperienced and overmatched opponent.
Williams and Anthony responded to a lineup change with 19 points apiece, and the Americans beat Britain, 118-78, in an exhibition game.
LeBron James added 16 points and Russell Westbrook had 15 for the Americans, who built a 40-point lead early in the fourth quarter and almost every basket from there seemed to be a dunk.
JAPAN SOCCER SNUB?
Japan’s world champion women’s soccer team has taken exception to flying economy while their male counterparts sat in business class on a flight to Europe for the Olympics.
The women’s team was assigned seats in premium economy for the 13-hour flight to Paris while the nation’s under-23 men’s team was up front on the same flight.
“It should have been the other way around,” 2011 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year Homare Sawa told Japanese media. “Even just in terms of age we are senior.”
The Japan Football Association said the men fly business class to the Olympics because they are professionals.
ZZZS ON WHEELS
A London taxi driver has come up with a novel way of solving the Olympic hotel dilemma: Visitors can sleep in his cab for 50 pounds ($78).
Cabbie David Weekes had feared that busy traffic throughout the Olympics and special road lanes only for Olympic VIPs would mean fewer taxi fares.
So he’s converted his traditional black London taxi into a cozy single bed with a Union Jack blanket.
DOUGH FOR MEDALS
USA Cycling will reward gold medalists at the London Games with up to $100,000 in bonus money, creating the richest known Olympics financial incentive program offered by any cycling organization in the world.
The new program, called the “London 100K Challenge,” will be officially announced in the coming days. It includes up to $75,000 for silver medalists and up to $50,000 for bronze.