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Nadal's Withdrawal Should Make Federer Favorite for Gold at Summer Olympics: Fan's Take

Yahoo Contributor Network

The Summer Olympics in London isn't going to get the marquee tennis tournament fans expected. With defending gold medalist and world No. 3 Rafael Nadal withdrawing from the Games over concerns with his knee, world No. 1 Roger Federer should be the clear favorite to win his first men's singles gold medal of his career.

Tennis fans (although probably not fans of Roger Federer) should be disappointed with this recent turn of events. After Nadal was upset in the second round of Wimbledon in June, most expected that he would return for the Olympic Games which is also being played at Wimbledon. The first hint of trouble was when Nadal announced that he would not be able to play in the Madrid exhibition match he had scheduled against Novak Djokovic that would have been played on July 14. That had been a highly anticipated exhibition because of the players involved and that it was expected to set a record for highest attendance at a tennis match (the stadium can hold 80,000 spectators).

Nadal's reason for not playing in Madrid and at the Olympics is a familiar one unfortunately. Tendinitis in his knee has flared up yet again. This was the same issue that caused him to miss much of the 2009 season and has caused periodic issues for Nadal ever since. It's something that all of us are going to have to get used to hearing more often as Nadal hasn't really changed his style of play despite the fact that it's so hard on his knees. It's a certainty that these knee issues will shorten a spectacular career, but more importantly it's depriving fans this summer of a chance to see Nadal face off against the likes of Federer and Djokovic in what had been one of the most hotly anticipated tennis seasons ever.

Now that Nadal is out of the Olympics, the overwhelming favorite to win gold in the men's single tournament should be Roger Federer. Federer recently won his seventh Wimbledon Championship in a manner that belied his age (30), and reminded fans of why he's considered perhaps the greatest grass court player ever. He was barely challenged against Djokovic in the semi-finals and Andy Murray in the finals. Indeed, these are the only other two players who even have a chance against Federer on grass, but they won't beat him if Federer plays like he did a few weeks ago.

Julie is a featured tennis contributor for the Yahoo Contributor Network and an avid tennis fan. She's disappointed in Nadal's withdrawal but still expects a lively competition during the Olympic Games.

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