Serena Williams Won't Play in Tokyo

Tennis star doesn't elaborate on reasons but had expressed concern about leaving her daughter behind
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 27, 2021 9:35 AM CDT
Serena Williams to Sit Out Olympics
American Serena Williams attends a press conference Sunday at Wimbledon in London.   (Florian Eisele/Pool Photo via AP)

Serena Williams, who's already won four gold medals, said Sunday she's not going to Tokyo for the Summer Olympics. "I'm actually not on the Olympic list, not that I'm aware of," she said to reporters Sunday at Wimbledon in London. "If so, then I shouldn't be on it." Williams, 39, did not discuss why she's skipping the Tokyo Games, which start next month, ESPN reports. "There's a lot of reasons that I made my Olympic decision," she said, adding: "I don't feel like going into them today. Maybe another day. Sorry." Williams has compiled a glittering Olympic resume. She won singles gold in London in 2012, playing on the Wimbledon grass courts. With her sister Venus, she won doubles in 2000, 2008, and 2012. Williams' withdrawal opens a roster spot on the US team for Jessica Pegula, who would join Sofia Kenin, Jennifer Brady, and Coco Gauff.

Williams had expressed doubt about participating in the Olympics this time, referring to the travel restrictions that might have kept her from bringing her daughter, daughter, Olympia, with her. Olympic officials have not said whether they'll let athletes' children attend. "I would not be able to go function without my 3-year-old around," Williams said earlier, per the New York Times. "I think I would be in a depression. We’ve been together every day of her life." On the men's side, Rafael Nadal has pulled out of the Olympics, per the Guardian, and Roger Federer said he'll decide after Wimbledon, which begins this week. Asked Sunday if not competing in the Olympics will bother her, Williams said that "it's been a wonderful place for me." But, she added, "I really haven't thought about it, so I'm going to keep not thinking about it." (More Serena Williams stories.)

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