Serena Williams Won’t Play at the Tokyo Olympics


Serena Williams, a four-time gold medalist, indicated on Sunday at Wimbledon that she would not play in the Olympics in Tokyo next month.

“I’m actually not on the Olympic list,” she said. “If so, then I should not be on it.”

The decision was not unexpected. Williams had expressed hesitancy about playing in Tokyo in part because of the travel restrictions that might have prevented her from taking her daughter, Olympia, with her to the Games.

“I would not be able to go function without my 3-year-old around,” Williams said earlier this season. “I think I would be in a depression. We’ve been together every day of her life.”

Olympic officials have not made clear publicly what exceptions might be made for athletes who wish to come to Tokyo with their children. It was unclear on Sunday whether that was the decisive factor for Williams, who is 39 and set to play at Wimbledon for the 20th time.

“There’s a lot of reasons that I made my Olympic decision,” she said at a news conference. “I don’t feel like going into them today. Maybe another day. Sorry.”

Williams has been one of the most successful Olympians in tennis, winning gold medals in doubles with her sister Venus in 2000, 2008 and 2012. She also won the singles at the 2012 Olympics in London, where the tennis event was held on the same grass courts as Wimbledon.

Her singles victory in London was perhaps the most dominant performance of her career. She did not come close to dropping a set in six matches and overwhelmed four players who had been ranked No. 1: Jelena Jankovic, Caroline Wozniacki, Victoria Azarenka and, in the final, Maria Sharapova.

Williams, who missed the 2004 Olympics because of an injury, was asked on Sunday whether it would be difficult for her to miss the Games.

“In the past, it’s been a wonderful place for me,” she said. “I really haven’t thought about it, so I’m going to keep not thinking about it.”

The top four American women in the singles rankings are eligible to compete in Tokyo. Sofia Kenin, Jennifer Brady and the 17-year-old Coco Gauff have all confirmed that they intend to take part. Williams’s decision opens a slot for Jessica Pegula.

Source : NYtimes