Serena Williams will not be participating in the Tokyo Olympics. The superstar tennis phenom made the announcement during a pre-Wimbledon video conference on Sunday (June 27), The Associated Press reports. “I’m actually not on the Olympic list. ... Not that I’m aware of. If so, then I shouldn’t be on it,” Williams said.
Williams has already won four gold medals representing the United States at previous Summer Games. She won three with her older sister, Venus, in doubles competitions. “There’s a lot of reasons that I made my Olympic decision,” Williams said. “I don’t really want to — I don’t feel like going into them today. Maybe another day. Sorry.”
In an email to The Associated Press, U.S. Tennis Association spokesman Chris Widmaier wrote: “Ultimately, the decision to participate in the Games is an individual one, and as we emerge from the pandemic, we recognize and respect the personal decisions made by our top athletes regarding participation in the Tokyo Games. Although we fully support the IOC and the (International Tennis Federation), and have encouraged our athletes to participate, we recognize the fact that in this unique time, some athletes may choose not to participate for personal reasons.”
The 39-year-old veteran is currently looking to notch her 24th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon. If she wins the event, she will tie Margaret Court for the most Grand Slam titles in tennis history. With Naomi Osaka choosing to skip the tournament, some analysts believe Williams has a good shot at achieving the feat.
For now, Williams is focused on Wimbledon — not the Olympics. She won’t be the only tennis star to miss the Summer Games. Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem have also said they plan to skip this year’s Olympics and Roger Federer is undecided.
When asked what she thinks it will be like to sit out these Summer Games, Williams responded: “I have not thought about it. In the past, it’s been a wonderful place for me. I really haven’t thought about it, so I’m going to keep not thinking about it.”
Check out the full press conference below: