Tokyo Summer Olympics On Minds Of Tennis Players

Tokyo Summer Olympics

WASHINGTON, January 25, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)

The Summer Olympics in Tokyo are only six months away, but today they are in a fog of doubt due to the global coronavirus pandemic. Optimism of putting on the Olympics in July 2021 a year after they were originally scheduled has been obscured by the virus as Japan has been gripped with its worst wave of infections. The Japanese government placed Tokyo under a state of emergency on Jan. 7.

The Tokyo Olympics tennis tournament is currently scheduled for play from July 24-30. While it may not be at the forefront of most players’ minds – after all, the Australian Open in Melbourne begins in just two weeks – it’s a subject that’s still relevant as players and teams are mapping out their 2021 schedules. Questions about participating in the quadrennial event and what it means to represent one’s country were raised in recent virtual media sessions with players during the Abu Dhabi WTA Women’s Tennis Open.

Here’s a sampling of what some said about playing in the tournament and representing their country at the Olympic Games:

Garbiñe Muguruza (Spain): “I’m very excited for the Olympics. I was excited last year – I’m still excited for this year. Yes, of course, I’m excited [to play mixed doubles with Rafael Nadal]. I’m always super looking forward to playing with Rafa. He’s one of the best players in history to play with. I think it would also be great to play doubles with Carla [Suárez Navarro] if she’s able to be back. I want to play all of the competitions.”

Maria Sakkari (Greece): “It’s a dream come true. As a Greek tennis player and a Greek athlete, it’s probably one of the most important achievements in our careers. As we all know, the Olympics started in Greece. It’s a pretty unique feeling for us. I’m looking forward; I cannot wait to be there. … I love my country; I know how important it is to medal for my country.”

Nadia Podoroska (Argentina): “I watched Juan Martín del Potro in Rio and London. It’s always a very emotional moment. I’m very happy if I could play this year.”

Ons Jabeur (Tunisia): “I was actually ready for last year. I love the Olympics; I love to represent my country. I think [the extra year] has given me more time to prepare for the Olympics. Hopefully, I can be ready for Tokyo. This is the first time I’m going and I want to go far in this event.”

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What they’re saying

In a recent “Chatting With Daniela,” on the Roland Garros YouTube channel, World No. 12 Belinda Bencic of Switzerland told host Daniela Hantuchova that 2020, a year highlighted by the global pandemic, was “one to forget.

“It almost felt like we never played, even though we did a little at the start and end, but I definitely want to forget last year. Hopefully, we can play more, and everyone’s gotten used to making tournaments in these conditions. I’ve definitely missed tennis, and so I want to play tournaments no matter how they’re staged.”

What they’re sharing on social media

Paula Badosa / The art of life …

Petra Kvitova / Blue skies, blue court

Stan Wawrinka / It’s getting hot here!