Serena Williams will not travel to Tokyo for the Olympics, the 23-time Grand Slam singles tennis champion said on Sunday, without giving reasons for her decision.
Williams, who turns 40 in September, won the singles title at the London Olympics in 2012 and she also won three doubles gold medals with her sister Venus – in Sydney (2000), Beijing (2008) and London.
“Yeah, I’m actually not on the Olympic list, so… Not to my knowledge. If so, I shouldn’t be part of it, ”Williams told reporters on the eve of Wimbledon.
Top male players like Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem have also chosen to skip the Tokyo Games, which start on July 23. Roger Federer, a 20-time major winner who will also turn 40 in August, has said he would like to go to the Olympics but will make one last call after Wimbledon.
The general public and medical experts in Japan constantly fear that the world’s largest sporting event, delayed for a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, could trigger a new wave of infections. Organizers have banned family members of athletes from attending the Games due to security protocols, while foreign spectators are also excluded and domestic crowds will be allowed in restricted numbers.
Restrictions on international arrivals would have separated Williams from daughter Alexis Olympia, born in 2017. “There are a lot of reasons I made my Olympic decision,” said Williams. “I don’t really want to… I don’t want to go in today. Maybe another day. Sorry. In the past, it was a wonderful place for me. I really haven’t thought about it, so I’m going to continue not to think about it.