Novak Djokovic, the top-ranked male tennis player in the world, confirmed his participation for the Tokyo Olympics and joined Japanese star Naomi Osaka among the big draws for the Games.
However, there have also been a number of withdrawals from this year’s Tokyo Olympics.
All venues at the Olympics, which start on July 23, will be closed to spectators as the Japanese authorities look to limit the risks of Covid-19. Foreign visitors have been barred as have family members of visiting athletes.
These restrictions, along with the cramped scheduled this year, have been one of the reasons why a number of top tennis players from both the women’s and men’s draws have pulled out of the Tokyo Games.
Here’s a look at the tennis players who withdrew from the Tokyo Olympics:
Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka, Angelique Kerber, Simona Halep, Bianca Andreescu, Coco Gauff.
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Stanislas Wawrinka, Dominic Thiem, Denis Shapovalov, Nick Kyrgios, David Goffin, Milos Raonic, Vasek Pospisil, Dan Evans, Alex de Minaur, Matteo Berrettini.
“I’m actually not on the Olympic list, so... Not that I’m aware of. If so, then I shouldn’t be on it. There’s a lot of reasons that I made my Olympic decision. I don’t feel like going into them today. Maybe another day. Sorry. I have not thought about it (missing the Games). In the past it’s been a wonderful place for me. I really haven’t thought about it, so I’m going to keep not thinking about it.”
“During the grass court season, I unfortunately experienced a setback with my knee, and have accepted that I must withdraw from the Tokyo Olympic Games. I have already begun rehabilitation in the hopes of returning to the tour later this summer. I wish the entire Swiss team the best of luck and I will be rooting hard for the team from afar.”
“Hi all, I have decided not to participate at this year’s Championships at Wimbledon and the Olympic Games in Tokyo. It’s never an easy decision to take but after listening to my body and discuss it with my team I understand that it is the right decision. The goal is to prolong my career and continue to do what makes me happy, that is to compete at the highest level and keep fighting for those professional and personal goals at he maximum level of competition. The fact that there has only been 2 weeks between RG and Wimbledon, didn’t make it easier on my body to recuperate after the always demanding clay court season. They have been two months of great effort and the decision I take is focused looking at the mid and long term. Sport prevention of any kind of excess in my body is a very important factor at this stage of my career in order to try to keep fighting for the highest level of competition and titles. I want to send a special message to my fans around the world, to those in the United Kingdom and Japan in particular.”
“Hi everybody, I have some sad news to share with you all. After talking with my team and analysing the situation I have taken the very difficult decision to withdraw from competing in the Tokyo Olympics. For me, like all athletes, taking part in the Olympics and representing my country is a huge honour and that makes this decision even tougher. However, 2021 did not start as expected and I don’t feel ready to play my best in Tokyo. My goal is to work hard the coming weeks, give my best at Wimbledon and keep training and hopefully defend my US Open title.”
“The thought of participating in the Olympics has been a constant motivation for me over the past few months. London 2012 and Rio 2016 as part of the German team has always been one of my favorite memories. That makes it even more disappointing for me to accept the fact that my body needs rest after the intense few weeks that lie behind me and that I have to recover first before returning to competition later this summer!”
“I would like to inform everyone that I have made the very difficult decision to not play in the Tokyo Olympics. I have many amazing memories winning the gold while competing and representing Belarus in previous Games. But with all the challenges we are facing as it relates to the pandemic, I know in my heart this is the right decision for myself and the team. I look forward to returning to the 2024 Olympics in Paris to represent Belarus.”
“Nothing brings me more pride than representing Romania, but sadly the recovery from my calf injury requires more time and I have made the decision to withdraw from the Olympic Games this summer. After the disappointment of missing the French Open and Wimbledon. Having to skip the Olympics is incredibly tough to digest, but I am determined to come back stronger. I will be watching and cheering on the Romanian athletes from home.”
“The thought of playing in front of empty stadiums just doesn’t sit right with me. It never has. I wouldn’t want to take the opportunity away from a healthy Aussie athlete ready to represent the country. It’s been my dream to represent Australia at the Olympics and I know I may never get that opportunity again – but I also know myself.”
“Hey everyone, after careful consideration I wanted to let you know that I will not be participating in the Olympics this year. Representing Canada means the world to me, but due to the current situation my team and I have decided this is the best decision for everyone’s safety.”
Statement by his management team: “He is very disappointed not to be able to play in the Games and represent Switzerland in Tokyo. But he is working hard on his recovery and towards his goal of getting back on court as soon as possible.”
Update: Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini was the latest big name to be forced to pull out of the Tokyo Olympics as he cited a muscle strain, with the Italian Olympic Committee confirming it on Sunday.
World number eight Berrettini picked up the injury in London where he became the first Italian to reach a Wimbledon singles final, losing in four sets to Djokovic.
Berrettini was forced “to renounce participation in the Olympic Games, due to the after-effects of a muscle injury, an unwelcome legacy of his historic exploit at Wimbledon,” CONI said.
The 25-year-old was spearheading an Italian team of Fabio Fognini, Lorenzo Sonego, Lorenzo Musetti in the men’s tennis and Sara Errani, Jasmine Paolini and Camila Giorgi in the women.
I am extremely disappointment to announce my withdrawal from the Tokyo Olympic Games.
I had an MRI scan yesterday on the thigh injury I sustained during Wimbledon and was informed I will not be able to compete for a couple of weeks. Representing Italy is the biggest honour for me so it is devastating to miss the Olympics. I wish the entire Italian team the best of luck in Tokyo. I will be supporting you all the way.
I am so disappointed to share the news that I have tested positive for COVID and won’t be able to play in the Olympic Games in Tokyo. It has always been a dream of mine to represent the USA at the Olympics and I hope there will be many more chances for me to make this come true in the future. I want to wish TEAM USA best of luck and a safe games for every Olympian and the entire Olympic family,” Gauff tweeted.
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