Serena Williams joins list of tennis stars to rule out competing at Olympics

Williams joins Rafael Nadal in missing the Games this summer.

Eleanor Crooks
Sunday 27 June 2021 19:13
<p>Serena Williams won an Olympic gold medal in singles in London nine years ago</p>

Serena Williams won an Olympic gold medal in singles in London nine years ago

Leer en Español

Serena Williams is the latest big-name tennis player to announce she will not be travelling to Tokyo for the Olympics.

The 39-year-old, who has four gold medals and made her debut at the Sydney Games in 2000, had previously said she was reluctant to go because she would not be able to take three-year-old daughter Olympia with her.

Speaking at her pre-Wimbledon press conference, Williams said: “I’m actually not on the Olympic list – not that I’m aware of. If so, then I shouldn’t be on it.”

She declined to explain her reasoning, adding: “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.”

Williams joins Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem in deciding not to compete in Tokyo, while Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have not yet committed to taking part.

Asked whether it would be difficult not playing at the Games after such a long association with the event, Williams said: “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.”

There was never a question about whether Williams would resume her bid for a 24th grand slam singles title at Wimbledon, as she is able to include Olympia in her bubble at the official hotel.

Many pundits view the All England Club as the most likely venue if Williams is finally to equal Margaret Court’s record, with her serve an even bigger weapon and a lot of players not particularly comfortable on grass, while Simona Halep and Naomi Osaka are both missing.

Williams reached the final in 2018 and 2019, losing in straight sets to Angelique Kerber and Halep, respectively, and has not played a match on grass for two years.

The sixth seed, who will face Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the first round on Tuesday, said: “I think that the women’s draw is so deep, regardless who you play.

“You really have to show up now. There’s no longer matches that are going to be a sure walk-through. You just have to really have your head in, have your game on.”

Serena Williams during practice at Wimbledon

Williams has not won a grand slam title since the Australian Open in 2017 but remains the biggest scalp in women’s tennis.

She said: “It’s definitely made me better. I’ve had a big X on my back since ’99, since I won the US Open. When players play me that hard every single tournament, every single match, every single grand slam, it just doesn’t matter where, you just get better.

“It’s been difficult mentally when someone might beat you and they lose directly in the next round almost every time. At the end of the day, that’s why I’m Serena.”

Williams, meanwhile, has spoken to Novak Djokovic about the Professional Tennis Players Association, the independent organisation set up by the Serbian and Canada’s Vasek Pospisil that has caused friction with the ATP.

“We spoke about it,” said Williams. “I haven’t had a ton of time to gather my thoughts yet. He’s definitely reaching out to a lot of people to get different opinions, different thoughts, just to try to figure out what he’s doing.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in