It`s been 8 years since Rafael Nadal won the gold medal in men's singles in Beijing. Back then, the Olympic success was nothing more than a confirmation of his status among the top Tennis players. In Beijing, he clinched the gold medal by beating Fernando Gonzalez in the final showdown. Moreover, he winning that medal stood as a conspicuous proof of Federer's decline (Nadal outran Federer in 2008 Wimbledon final and seized the first spot in the ranking for himself). It was an era when new names came up to the grand arena, with players like Djokovic or Murray cutting the shades in searching for fame.

Nadal's career: an off-road race

Besides the Olympic gold medal in Beijing, the Spaniard won 14 Grand Slam tournament, 9 of them being at the Roland Garros. But, as big as success was, as grueling the injuries became. Nadal faced medical issues in both his knees and also his wrists. His knee problems prevented him from competing at the previous Olympics back in 2012 in London. The most recent injury came during the 2016 French Open, and now, RafaelNadal will make his first move on the tennis court in months right at the Olympics in Rio. Although the opponents seems an easy task to solve, the question marks regarding Nadal's physical output will balance the confrontation.

Nadal is set to play singles, doubles and maybe mixed

Despite being not 100 % fit, Rafael Nadal will play in mens singles against Federico Delbonis. The Spaniard won both meetings with the Argentine players back in 2013 and 2015. In doubles, Nadal willteam up with his fellow countryman Marc Lopez. Also, if his wrist will allow, he might play mixed doubles. the most likely partner is Garbine Muguruza, the 2016 Roland Garros champion.

It`s remarkablehow he found a way to motivate himself in order to play in Rio. Perhaps, any other player in that position, with so little practice and no official matches would say no. But Nadal is a complete professional player eager to represent his country at the highest level. Being the Spanish flag bearer also gave him quite an incentive.

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