Spain’s best known sportsman Rafael Nadal has urged the International Olympic Committee to pick Madrid to host the 2016 Games, saying it deserved to win.
The world number two tennis star had hoped to be in Copenhagen for the decision on Friday but has recovered from a stomach injury and is due in Beijing for next week’s China Open.
But he said his heart was with the Madrid bid team.
“It is very sad for me not being able to go to Copenhagen. I have to continue with my tennis schedule which makes it impossible for me to go to Denmark,” he said on his website.
“Nevertheless, I will still support Madrid’s Olympic bid spiritually and I take this opportunity to thank Madrid’s mayor and the sport’s secretary of defence for always counting on me to support this project.
“I know what a great job they’ve done and I know we deserve to win.
“Madrid, I wish you all the best. I have a special feeling in my heart about this one.”
Despite Nadal’s best hopes, Madrid is seen as an outsider in the 2016 race, with Chicago, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo also in the running.
The city is betting that overwhelming support within the sports-obsessed country will upset the odds.
As well as Nadal’s support, Madrid also has the heavyweight backing of Spain’s former International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch and King Juan Carlos, a former Olympian who represented Spain in sailing at the 1972 Games.