Serena Williams And Rafael Nadal Remain Unsure About Tokyo Olympics

With the Olympics just months away, you would expect athletes around the world to be solely focused on their quest to medal at the Tokyo Games. But as the global coronavirus pandemic continues to rear its ugly head, athletic performance is a mere afterthought for some when their own health, and those of their loved ones, could potentially be at risk. As coronavirus cases continue to escalate, athletes are questioning not only their own presence at the Olympic Games, but if the event should be held at all and in the world of tennis, current circumstances are leading the sport’s biggest stars to question their involvement at the Games. 

Rafael Nadal has become the latest star to join the ever-growing list of players voicing their doubts about the Olympic Games. Speaking at the Italian Open in Rome, Nadal said: “Honestly, I can’t give you a clear answer because I don’t know. I don’t know my calendar. In a normal world I will never see about missing the Olympics, of course. There is no doubt about that. Everybody knows how important it has been for me to always play in the Olympics.”

He added, “I normally know my schedule almost 100 per cent since the first of January till the end of the season. This year is something a little bit different, no? We need to be flexible. We need to adapt about the things that are happening.”

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For Serena Williams, the prospect of having to travel to Tokyo for the Olympics without her three-year-old daughter, Olympia, is a requirement the star athlete is unwilling to make. With four gold Olympic medals to her name, Williams explained, “I haven’t spent 24 hours without her, so that kind of answers the question itself.”

Williams added, “I think there are other reasons. I haven’t really thought much about Tokyo, because it was supposed to be last year and now it’s this year, and then there is this pandemic and there is so much to think about. Then there are the grand slams. It’s just a lot. So I have really been taking it one day at a time to a fault, and I definitely need to figure out my next moves.”

Naomi Osaka, who has recently been vaccinated, also voiced her thoughts about the Olympics going ahead. “I want the Olympics to happen, because I’m an athlete and that’s sort of what I have been waiting for my entire life,” she said. “But I think that there is so much important stuff going on, and especially the past year, I think a lot of unexpected things have happened. For me, I feel like if it’s putting people at risk and if it’s making people very uncomfortable, then it definitely should be a discussion, which I think it is as of right now.”

Similarly, Kei Nishikori – formerly ranked fourth in the world – debated whether the Olympic village could contain the virus. “It’s tough to really say right now. I think they should really hold [the decision] right now, and they should decide it like before. If it’s now, I think it’s really tough.”

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