Nadal: Carrying flag would be 'special' after 2012 heartache

Rafael Nadal won Olympic gold for Spain in 2008 but was forced to pull out on the eve of the London Games four years later. BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal says he would love to carry the flag for Spain at this summer's Olympics in Rio, especially after the heartache he suffered in missing the 2012 Games in London.

Nadal, the champion in Beijing in 2008, was due to be the flag-bearer four years ago but had to pull out because he was not "in condition" following knee problems.

The president of Spain's Olympic committee, Alejandro Blanco, said recently that Nadal would be the ideal man for the job.

And though the decision will be made by a group of federation presidents, the nine-times French Open champion says he would love the role.

"For me it was an amazing feeling when I was told I would carry it in 2012," Nadal told a small group of reporters in Monte Carlo, where he will embark on his bid to win a ninth Monte Carlo Masters title on Tuesday.

"It was terrible news when I had to pull out of London. I've missed grand slams, Davis Cups in my career but the toughest thing was the 2012 Olympics, so I would love to bring the flag.

"But there are a lot of other personalities in Spain who can have this privilege too and probably deserve to, so it's not my [choice].

"I hope people are going to make the right decision [by choosing him]. It would be a great honour, I hope to be [the man] but at the end of the day it is an Olympic Games and you are part of the team and it's something special. If I'm carrying the flag, great, if not then I will be in the back [with the team at the opening ceremony]."

Nadal, who turns 30 in June, said repeating his Beijing triumph will be far from easy.

"There's no doubt the Olympic Games is the toughest tournament to win in the world of tennis because you have only one, two maybe three opportunities in your career [whereas] in slams you have maybe 50. In the Olympics everything has to be right in that single week.

"For me, the year I won the Olympics meant more than a grand slam because I was playing great, winning grand slams [and] the Olympics was just that opportunity.

"It was amazing winning there with the team being in the Village. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life."

While Nadal said he is open to the idea of playing doubles and/or mixed doubles as well as singles in Rio, reigning Olympic champion Andy Murray is also among those considering playing in more than one event.

As he did throughout Britain's march to Davis Cup glory last year, the world No. 2 is set to team up with his brother Jamie, who just happens to be the current world No. 1.

"To get the chance to play with my brother would be great," Murray said.

"It's probably the toughest doubles event during the year because everyone plays. You have all of the best players, singles and doubles, playing. But if we could do something there, it would be special."'