Tokyo Olympics - Who's playing tennis? Andy Murray to defend title, Novak Djokovic unsure as Roger Federer out
Roger Federer will not compete at the Olympic Games while Novak Djokovic is set to play. Andy Murray will defend the gold he won in 2016 and 2012 but Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal are set to miss the event. But who else will be playing in Tokyo? The tennis tournament runs from July 24 until August 1 on hard courts at Ariake Tennis Park.
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With Wimbledon finished, attentions now turn to the next big event on the tennis calendar: the Olympic Games.
The tennis event in Tokyo is set to run from July 24 until August 1 on hard courts at Ariake Tennis Park. Andy Murray will defend the gold medal he won in Rio in 2016 but women’s champion Monica Puig will not feature after undergoing shoulder surgery in June.
There have also been several other high-profile withdrawals while world number one Novak Djokovic will be playing as he bids for the Golden Slam.
With a week to go until the tennis starts in Tokyo, who is in, who is out, and who might play?
The most recent high profile withdrawal comes in the form of Roger Federer who announced he suffered a setback with his injured knee. The 39-year-old 20-time Grand Slam champion recently reached the quarter final at Wimbledon but confirmed his troublesome knee will see him miss what will likely be his last chance to claim a medal at the Games.
Rafael Nadal missed Wimbledon and will also not play at the Olympics as he looks to recover from the first half of the season. The Spaniard had a back problem earlier this year and said that “after listening to my body” he needed to take time off following the French Open. Nadal is set to return at the Washington Open on July 31.
Four-time gold medallist Serena Williams will not be heading to Tokyo for Team USA. The 39-year-old confirmed her decision before suffering an injury in the first round at Wimbledon. “In the past it's been a wonderful place for me, but I really haven't thought about it, so I'm going to keep not thinking about it,” said Williams.
Austrian Dominic Thiem made the decision to not play the Olympics before a wrist injury forced him out of Wimbledon. He said: "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.” Thiem will be hoping to be fit to defend his US Open title.
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Wimbledon semi-finalist Denis Shapovalov will not compete for Canada because of the tight Covid-19 protocols for players. “It was a lot to do with the restrictions, being in the bubble again, this whole situation…Obviously I want to play the Olympics, I want to represent my country. It's a dream for me. But it's really tough with these restrictions. It puts a lot of pressure on you. It's really tough on the mental.”
Canada will also be without Bianca Andreescu, who has withdrawn due to Covid-19 concerns. The world No 5 said in a statement: "I have been dreaming of representing Canada at the Olympics since I was a little girl, but with all the challenges we are facing as it relates to the pandemic, I know that deep in my heart, this is the right decision to make for myself."
Germany's Angelique Kerber has also withdrawn from the Games after deciding her body was unable to cope with the hectic schedule were she to travel to Japan to compete. Coco Gauff has withdrawn after testing positive for Covid-19 and Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini is also out due to a thigh injury
Also out: Sofia Kenin (USA), Roberto Bautista Agut (Spain), Casper Ruud (Nor), Madison Keys (USA), Reilly Opelka (USA), John Isner (USA), Taylor Fritz (USA)
Most of the women’s top 20 will be competing in Tokyo, including Australian world No 1 Ashleigh Barty and Japanese world No 2 Naomi Osaka, who will be making her first appearance since withdrawing from the French Open. Aryna Sabalenka and Victoria Azarenka are set to form a strong doubles partnership for Belarus while Poland’s Iga Swiatek is set to make her first Olympic appearance.
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Andy Murray will be looking for his third gold medal as he heads to Tokyo as part of Team GB following his third-round loss at Wimbledon. The defending champion gained entry into the event as the player with the most Olympic and Grand Slam titles outside the direct entries, and will also be competing in the doubles with Joe Salisbury. Jamie Murray will be competing in doubles with Neal Skupski, while Heather Watson will be playing singles and doubles.
Team USA has been hit hard by withdrawals and will be led by world No 15 Jennifer Brady and world No 52 Frances Tiafoe.
Stefanos Tsitsipas also plans to compete after a difficult few weeks. The Greek world No 4 lost in the final of the French Open and then suffered a shock first-round exit at Wimbledon. However, he is set to compete in the singles and play mixed doubles with French Open semi-finalist Maria Sakkari.
Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev will make their Olympic debuts for Russia and Germany respectively.