On Monday, tennis living legend Serena Williams suggested she may not compete at the Tokyo Olympics rescheduled from 2020 to this summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic if travel restrictions and protocols prevent her three-year-old daughter from joining her in Japan.
Ahead of his opening match at the Italian Open in Rome on Tuesday, fellow all-time great Rafael Nadal suggested he also may skip the Olympic tournament.
“I don’t know yet. Honestly, I can’t give you a clear answer because I don’t know,” Nadal said about competing in Tokyo, per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN). “I don’t know my calendar.
“In a normal world, I will never see about missing Olympics, of course. Is no doubt about that. Everybody knows how important have been for me [to] always play Olympics.”
The 34-year-old who won a singles gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and then claimed a doubles gold at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016 added: “Under these circumstances, I don’t know. Let’s see what’s going on in the next couple of months. But I need to organize my schedule. My schedule in a normal year, I normally know my schedule almost 100% since 1st of January ’til the end of the season.
“This year is something a little bit different, no? We need to be flexible. We need to adapt about the things that are happening.”
Nadal pulled out of last year’s U.S. Open over coronavirus concerns and even hinted last May he could pass on the remainder of the tennis season to focus on 2021 but ultimately won the French Open that was postponed to the fall due to the health crisis.
According to the AP, 60-80% of Japanese residents polled have said the Olympics should be canceled or pushed back again due to rising COVID-19 cases in the country. The Games are set to run from July 23 through Aug. 8.