Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal was named flag-bearer of Spain for the London Olympics 2012 but had to pull out due to knee problems Getty

Spanish tennis superstar Rafael Nadal has said he would love to carry the flag for Spain at the Rio Olympics 2016 and sees World No 1 Novak Djokovic as the man to beat. Nadal, who won the gold medal at Beijing 2008, was supposed to be flag-bearer for Spain at the London 2012 Olympics but had to pull out due to knee problems.

The president of Spain's Olympic committee Alejandro Blanco gave his blessings to Nadal, but the decision would be made by a group of federation of presidents.

"For me it was amazing when I was told I would carry it in 2012. It was terrible news when I had to pull out of London. I have missed Grand Slams, Davis Cups in my career but the toughest thing was the 2012 Olympics, so I would love to bring the flag," Nadal was quoted as saying by ESPN.com:

He added: "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, 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)."

Referring to Djokovic's form, Nadal, who is in France to take part in the Monte Carlo Masters 2016, said: "Everybody wants to be in his position now. When you win it's easier to keep winning and when you lose it's easier to keep losing. It's always those same dynamics, especially with an unbelievable player like him. It's difficult to stop, he's going to be the favourite for every tournament until somebody shows something different. He's the player of the moment without a doubt, everyone sees him as a winner."

The Spaniard, whose eight-year reign as Monte Carlo champion was ended by Djokovic in 2013, will face Britain's Alijaz Bedene in the second round on 13 April (Wednesday).