Tokyo Olympics: Which players have opted out? (and why)

As of July 15, the Tokyo Olympics will be missing some big star power at the Olympics, including Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Serena Williams. Here’s the list of players that have opted out.

Rafael Nadal at the Rio Olympics in 2016 Rafael Nadal at the Rio Olympics in 2016

The Tokyo Olympics begin on July 24th, and already (as of July 15) 17 top-25 players have opted out of the event (six women and 11 men inside top-25), either for injury, Covid or personal reasons. We have compiled a list of qualified players who will not be competing in Tokyo this summer. Check back often, as the list changes frequently…

Women: Six top-25 players will not compete (rankings of players as of July 15)

World No 3 Simona Halep

The Romanian set her sights on competing for Romania but was forced out due to a calf injury that also ruled her out of Roland-Garros and Wimbledon.

World No 5 Bianca Andreescu

Andreescu announced the news on July 12, saying “With all the challenges we are facing as it relates to the pandemic, I know that deep in my heart, this is the right decision to make for myself.”

World No 6 Sofia Kenin

The 2020 Australian Open champion opted out of the games.

World No 14 Victoria Azarenka

Azarenka announced her opt-out on July 15, saying: “I would like to inform everyone that I have made a difficult decision to not play in the Tokyo Olympics. I have many amazing memories winning the gold while competing and representing Belarus in previous Games, but with all the challenges we are facing as it relates to the pandemic, I know in my heart that this is the right decision for myself and team. I look forward to returning to the 2024 Olympics in Paris to represent Belarus.”

World No 16 Serena Williams

The four-time Olympic Gold medalist has decided not to play the Olympics in 2021. She informed media of her decision at Wimbledon this year, before she got injured on the grass.

World No 22 Angelique Kerber

Silver medalist at Rio in 2016 opted not to play the olympic tournament in 2021. Bad Homburg champion and Wimbledon semi-finalist, the German said that her “body needs after the intense few weeks that lie behind” her.

Word No 25 Coco Gauff

The 17-year-old American pulled out on July 18 due to a positive Covid-19 test. “I am so disappointed to share the news that I have tested positive for Covid and won’t be able to play in the Olympic Games in Tokyo,” the world No 25 posted on social media. “It has always been a dream of mine to represent the USA at the Olympics, and I hope there will be many more chances for me to make this come true in the future. I want to wish TEAM USA best of luck and a safe games for every Olympian and the entire Olympic family.”

World No 27 Madison Keys

Keys would have qualified based on the withdrawals of Kenin and Williams, but has elected not to participate.

World No 31 Daria Kasatkina

Kasatkina says she doesn’t want to take the Covid risk in a very complicated year, schedule-wise for players. “The flight to Japan will be very difficult and the current situation regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic only makes it more complicated,” she said in early July. “I don’t want to see another injury forcing me to lose my physical shape as well as my future confidence.”

World No 32 Petra Martic

Martic was one of the first to announce that she wouldn’t be playing.

World No 37 Sorana Cirstea

Cirstea has elected not to participate.

World No 38 Johanna Konta

Konta revealed on July 13 that she had tested positive for Covid-19 and would not have enough time to recover for the Tokyo Olympics.

World No 56 Jil Teichmann

Teichmann says the pandemic and injury woes have caused her to decide against playing.

ATP – Eleven top 25 players will not compete (as of July 14)

World No 3 Rafael Nadal

Two-time Olympic gold medal winner Nadal has elected to start his hard court season at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. rather than play the Olympics.

World No 6 Dominic Thiem

Thiem, who is currently out with a wrist injury, had already planned to skip the Olympics before he hurt his wrist playing at the Mallorca Open.

World No 8 Matteo Berrettini

Berrettini announced that a pulled muscle will keep him out of the Olympics on July 18. “I had an MRI scan yesterday on the thigh injury I sustained during Wimbledon and was informed I will not be able to compete for a couple of weeks.
Representing Italy is the biggest honour for me so it is devastating to miss the Olympics,” he wrote on Instagram.

World No 9 Roger Federer

Federer announced the news on July 13, saying: “During the grass court season, I unfortunately experienced a setback with my knee, and have accepted that I must withdraw from the Tokyo Olympic Games. I am greatly disappointed, as it has been an honor and highlight of my career each time I have represented Switzerland. I have already begun rehabilitation in the hopes of returning to the tour later this summer. I wish the entire Swiss team the best of luck and I will be rooting hard from afar. 

World No 10 Denis Shapovalov

Denis Shapovalov announced he’d skip Tokyo just before Wimbledon.

“Representing Canada means the world to me, but due to the current situation my team and I have decided this is the best decision for everyone’s safety,” he said.

World No 14 Roberto Bautista Agut

Bautista Agut, a quarter-finalist at the 2016 Rio Games, elected to skip Tokyo this year.

World No 16 Casper Ruud

The Norwegian says he hopes to compete at the Olympics someday, but not in 2021: “After the French Open, there have been a few days in the thinking box and after careful assessment with my team, we have come to the conclusion that there will be no Tokyo Olympics on me. “I’m still pretty young and both believe and hope I can participate in more Olympics in my career.”

World No 17 Alex de Minaur

De Minaur was ruled out on July 15, due to a positive Covid-19 test.

World No 18 Cristian Garin

Garin opted out just before Wimbledon as well, saying he didn’t want to compete with the pandemic diminishing the spirit of the games.  “Due to the instability of this year … the established conditions will not allow me to live the real experience of what the Olympic Games mean, it is because what I have made this decision,” he said.

World No 20 David Goffin

Goffin is dealing with an ankle injury and he won’t be ready to compete. “This is not good news because I was determined to participate in his Games, even in these very special conditions, on a site that is successful for me,” said Goffin as quoted by the LeSoir website. “But the recovery time was really too short. Now I have to take the positive out of the situation. I will be able to prepare well for the rest of the season, and especially the American tour in August. I will be fresh and in great shape to finish this season, much like what I managed to do in 2017. It gives me confidence.”

World No 21 Grigor Dimitrov

Dimitrov cited a difficult year, and the need to rest his body. “I’ve played the Olympics a few times already and this year it’s definitely not on my priority list to be honest, especially after the year that I had, last year, a little bit of this year, I just took everything under consideration, how my body has been feeling and of course I think Covid kind of got to all of us on many different levels. I just wanted to make the right decision for myself more so than anything else,” he said.

World No 22 Milos Raonic

Raonic pulled out of the Rio Games due to concerns over Zika. This year he will miss due to injuries.

World No 23 Jannik Sinner

Jannik Sinner has elected to skip the Olympics because he wants to focus on the growth of his game. “The reasoning behind my withdrawal is I that haven’t performed to the best of my ability in the last couple of tournaments and I need to focus on my development as a player,” he said.

World No 28 Dan Evans

Evans tested positive for Covid-19.

World No 30 Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka’s second foot injury will keep him off the tour for a while.

World No 32 Cameron Norrie

Norrie has chosen not to play the Olympics. He is on the schedule for Atlanta, which takes place on the same week.

World No 33 Reilly Opelka

Opelka will not make the trip to Tokyo, instead focusing on hard court tennis in the United States.

World No 34 Borna Coric

Coric underwent shoulder surgery in mid-May.

World No 34 John Isner

The American announced in March that he would not be competing in Tokyo.

World No 40 Taylor Fritz

Fritz qualified but declined to take his spot on the US Olympic team. He is scheduled to play Los Cabos and Atlanta over the next two weeks.

World No 42 Adrian Mannarino

The Frenchman opted out on June 21, long before he injured himself against Roger Federer in the first round at Wimbledon.

World No 43 Dusan Lajovic

Lajovic declined to participate, saying: “After discussing with my team, we made the decision not to go to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2021. I will stay in Europe and continue to play tournaments on clay.” 

World No 44 Filip Krajinovic

Krajinovic will play on the clay over the next few weeks in Europe.

World No 46 Sebastian Korda

Korda will forego joining his sisters, Nelly and Jessica, at the Olympics this year. He wants to manage his schedule and stay focused on tour events.

World No 47 Federico Delbonis

Delbonis has decided to prioritize playing on the ATP Tour, due to the strict restrictions that will be put in place for athletes in Tokyo.

World No 50 Lloyd Harris

“I believe life on tour in the time of Covid-19 is taking its toll on a number of players. If I play the Olympics, not only would I travel from Europe to Japan and then to the US within a month, but I will face strict Covid-19 rules in Tokyo. It is not practical,” said Harris of his decision.

World No 51 Benoit Paire

The Frenchman, due to erratic behavior, has been prohibited from competing by the French Federation.

World No 54 Richard Gasquet

The Frenchman missed the Rio Games with a back injury. This year he’s elected not to travel to Tokyo.

World No 58 Nick Kyrgios

Nick Kyrgios said the following of his decision: “It’s a decision I don’t take lightly. … And I know I may never get that opportunity again. But I also know myself. The thought of playing in front of empty stadiums just doesn’t sit right with me. It never has.”

World No 61 Vasek Pospisil

Pospisil cites several factors for his decision, including an aggravated right shoulder.

World No 75 Guido Pella

Pella made the announcement on June 18, citing scheduling difficulties.

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