Serena Williams is taking a rain check on this year’s Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, but she’s keeping her reasons a secret — for now. With the games less than a month away, the news caught some tennis fans by surprise.
She revealed the news during a press conference at Wimbledon, where she’s hoping to nab her eighth singles title in the next few weeks. “I’m actually not on the Olympic list, not that I’m aware of,” Williams told reporters, via ESPN, when she was asked if she was headed to Japan. “If so, then I shouldn’t be on it.” The athlete mentioned that there are “a lot of reasons” why she decided not to go, but she didn’t “feel like going into them” in front of a throng of media. The reason for her absence seemed to weigh on her as she said one more time, “Maybe another day. Sorry.”
Williams is already a four-time Olympic gold medalist, having won in 2000, 2008 and 2012 — three times in doubles and once in singles. This would have been her fifth Olympic Games (she also went to Rio in 2016, but did not medal) had she decided to attend. “In the past [the Olympics] has 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 U.S. Tennis Association hasn’t announced the men’s or women’s team for the Olympics yet, but it comes on the heels of a grueling Wimbledon tournament and in the midst of a pandemic. Both reasons alone could be great excuses for why Williams would want to stay home this time around. U.S. Tennis Association spokesman Chris Widmaier told the Associated Press that they “have encouraged” the athletes “to participate,” but they aren’t pressuring anyone in this “unique time.”
So for anyone looking for reasons why we won’t see Williams travel to Tokyo, we are just going to have to wait until she’s ready to share the answers with her fans. Until then, she has a Wimbledon trophy to go after.
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