OLYMPICS

Will Federer, Nadal and Djokovic compete at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics?

Two of the three tennis legends are set to compete for gold in Tokyo at the 2021 Olympics, while one of them has pulled out due to exhaustion.

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Will Federer, Nadal and Djokovic compete at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics?

Following last year’s postponement due to the coronavirus, excitement is building ahead of the 29th edition of the modern Olympic Games, which kicks off with the inauguration ceremony in Tokyo on 24 July.

More than 11,000 athletes from 206 nations will compete in Japan this summer across a total of 33 sports.

Tennis is always among the most popular events. And one of the biggest questions for many sports fans is whether three of the world's biggest tennis stars, Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic, will be among those competing for gold in Tokyo. Well, fortunately, two of the three tennis legends are set to compete for gold at the 2021 Olympics, while one of them has pulled out due to exhaustion.

Federer Tokyo-bound

After losing to 20-year-old Candian Felix Auger-Aliassime in the second round of the Noventi Open in Germany, Federer will look to get back to winning ways on grass at his favourite Grand Slam, Wimbledon, which got underway this week.

After the grasscourt major, Federer is expected to travel to Tokyo to take part in the Olympics to represent his native Switzerland. The 39-year-old No.8 seed is set to make his Olympic comeback after missing the 2016 Games in Rio, before which he competed in all four Olympics between 2000-2012.

The most successful man in tennis history has won two Olympic medals in his career: a men’s doubles gold medal at Beijing 2008 and a men’s singles silver medal at London 2012, where he lost to local hero Andy Murray in the final.

The Swiss veteran has won every major single men’s tournament over his career and will hope to finally add an Olympic men’s singles gold medal to his trophy cabinet at Tokyo this summer. At 39, this will almost definitely be his last opportunity to do so.

Nadal pulls out of Olympics due to exhaustion

Fans of Nadal will not have the pleasure of seeing him compete at either Wimbledon or the Olympics this summer. The Spaniard recently announced he was pulling out of both events due to exhaustion, following his defeat to Novak Djokovic in the semi-final of the French Open two weeks ago.

“The clay court tour was very tough, with a lot of physical and mental pressure,” his coach Carlos Moya said this week. “Rafa finished exhausted. He is going to take a well-deserved rest, this is a marathon, a long-distance race in which hard decisions have to be made and he has considered that the best thing is to stop to come back full of strength.

“Rafa two years ago reached a point of great mental fatigue that was very difficult to get out of and now he has indicated that he was close to that again. He cannot afford [to play in] a Grand Slam if he is not at 100%.”

Nadal’s withdrawal from Tokyo 2020 means he will not be able to add to his Olympic medal tally, which consists of a Beijing 2008 men’s singles gold and Rio 2016 men’s doubles gold.

Djokovic to compete at Olympics

Having recently won the French and Australian Opens, Djokovic will now seek Wimbledon glory before he jets off to Tokyo in a bid to win a medal for his native Serbia.

On Wednesday, the Tennis Association of Serbia (TAS) confirmed that the world No.1 would compete at this summer’s Games, ending concern that he would, like Nadal, pull out due to exhaustion also.

“Novak has confirmed his desire to participate in the Olympic Games and we have already sent a list with his name on it to the Olympic Committee of Serbia. It will be forwarded from there,” the TAS said in a statement.

Djokovic said earlier this month he would consider withdrawing from the Olympics if fans were not allowed to attend -- a scenario that is still a “definitely possibility” according to the Japanese prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, who was speaking to reporters at a vaccination center on Monday.

Djokovic will compete in his fourth Olympic Games in Tokyo following Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016. Among the three tennis legends, he has the worst medal record with just one men’s singles bronze to his name, which he won in Beijing in 2008 in his inaugural appearance at the Games.

The Serbian star will be looking to carry his Grand-Slam winning momentum all the way to Tokyo, where he will be one of the favourites to take a podium spot at the end of the men’s singles competition.