Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Others: Why Are Top Tennis Stars Giving Tokyo Olympics 2020 a Miss?
Is it a coincidence that a clutch of top tennis stars would be missing in action at the Tokyo Olympics 2020? Maybe not. But their choice not to be on the biggest stage that there is for an athlete does raise a larger question.
Has the global showpiece event, which comes once every four years, lost its appeal for modern day athletes, especially those not associated with team sports?
While it would be too sweeping to say that the Olympics doesn’t fill athletes with desire and motivation like it used to in previous decades, there is a change of perception whereby it seems to have gone down the pecking order for certain athletes in tennis.
Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem rued the hard call to skip Tokyo Olympics 2020
Playing in the new normal, which requires tennis stars of today to stay in restricted bio-secure spaces and play closed-door matches, does take a mental toll and it is this backdrop and the general playing scenario that, perhaps, forced the likes of Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Denis Shapovalov to give the summer Games a miss.
I have some sad news to share with you all. After talking with my team and analysing the situation I have taken the very difficult decision to withdraw from competing in the Tokyo Olympics.
— Dominic Thiem (@ThiemDomi) June 17, 2021
Expressing remorse for his decision not to play for the flag at the Tokyo Games, the ‘King of Clay’ shared a series of tweets saying the Olympics means a lot to him but he had to take a hard decision in the interest of prolonging his career.
Hi all, I have decided not to participate at this year’s Championships at Wimbledon and the Olympic Games in Tokyo. It’s never an easy decision to take but after listening to my body and discuss it with my team I understand that it is the right decision
— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) June 17, 2021
Earlier, after a grueling season on clay which ended with a semi-final exit at Roland-Garros, Nadal had said he would take some time out of the game to rest and recover before deciding on his participation at Wimbledon and the Olympics.
“I have decided not to participate at this year’s Championships at Wimbledon and the Olympic Games in Tokyo. It’s never an easy decision to take but after listening to my body and discussing it with my team I understand that it is the right decision,” Nadal wrote.
Workload management forcing tennis stars to opt out of Tokyo Games
For Thiem, too, it eventually came down to workload management and prioritizing events and he had to cross Tokyo Olympics 2020 off his schedule.
“After talking with my team and analyzing the situation I have taken the very difficult decision to withdraw from competing in the Tokyo Olympics,” Thiem tweeted.
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Among other notable absentees from the Games are veteran Spanish tennis star Feliciano Lopez and compatriot Carlos Alvarez and Polish tennis sensation Iga Swiatek. They opted out citing the grinding schedule.
Read More: “Rafa Finished Exhausted”: Carlos Moya Details Reasons Behind Rafael Nadal’s Wimbledon Championships 2021 and Tokyo Olympics Withdrawal
While it’s sad that the modern-day athletes are struggling to wedge the Olympics in their busy schedules, it’s not the Games that is poorer for it.
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