World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and one of the most celebrated tennis icons Roger Federer remain uncertain about participation in the upcoming Olympics. Both the tennis legends are keen to participate in the Tokyo Games.
Both have not been able to make up their mind so far. For different reasons – one is finding it hard to inspire himself as there will be no international fans at the stadium; the other fears threat from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Some athletes and officials might say no to the Games for fears of the Covid-19 virus, Djokovic is finding it hard to motivate himself for playing without supporters in the stands. Federer too hasn’t been able to make up his mind despite a strong urge to sign off his Olympic career with singles’ gold.
Federer has 20 tennis Grand Slam titles in his closet. Djokovic has 18. What they both would be missing is the pride of winning an Olympic gold. Federer though had won the mixed doubles final at the 2002 Beijing Games with Stan Wawrinka.
Federer’s best singles achievement at the Olympics has been silver at the 2012 London Games. There was nothing befitting his class and reputation at the Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Olympics. He had to miss the 2016 Rio Games with an injury.
Djokovic first. The Serbian had told reporters at the French Open that he planned to compete in Olympics next month. However, the 34-year-old has added that fans would hold the key for his final decision on competing at the Tokyo Games.
“If there’s not going to be any crowd, then I’ll consider if I want to go or not,” Djokovic reportedly told the Press before his first match at the French Open.
“As I heard, there’s going to be some crowd, local crowd from Japan only. As I understand, 20 to 30 per cent of the capacity. Right now I am planning to go, and I’m very excited about that.”
The Tokyo 2020 organisers have suggested that foreign fans won’t be allowed for the Games to mitigate the threat of novel coronavirus. However, 30% of the total tickets will be sold to the local Japanese people. Only the people who have taken their vaccination dose can watch LIVE action in the stadium.
Federer, according to Sky Sports, too hasn’t been able to make up his mind. The reason is different than what Djokovic wants.
“I don’t know, I feel two ways,” Federer is quoted as saying.
“I would love to play. I wish things were better around the world that we wouldn’t even have to debate the thought of is it going to happen, am I going to play or not.
“My wish and hope and dream is that I can play it. But it needs to make sense for me, my team, my family, my country.
“I’m still waiting to see how things are going to develop the next couple of weeks and month.”
Federer, who is expected to compete in the mixed doubles with Belinda Bencic, also knows that it might well be too late for him to go for the Paris 2024. He will be 43 years of age by then.