Serena Williams isn’t headed to Tokyo this summer. Plenty of fans assumed the four-time Olympian would pursue a brand-new gold medal at this year’s delayed summer games, which begin on July 23. But as she revealed on Sunday, June 27, a new Olympics bid isn’t in the cards.
“I’m actually not on the Olympic list ... not that I’m aware of,” Williams told reporters ahead of the 2021 Wimbledon Grand Slam. “And if so, then I shouldn’t be on it.”
The tennis star didn’t provide an exact reason for her absence. “There’s a lot of reasons that I made my Olympics decision. I don’t feel like going into them today,” the tennis star continued. “Maybe another day. Sorry. In the past, [the Olympics have] been a wonderful place for me, but I really haven’t thought about it, so I’m going to keep not thinking about it.”
Williams won the singles gold medal at 2012’s London Olympics, and picked up three doubles gold medals with her sister Venus Williams in London, the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
And as Williams said herself, there are plenty of valid, logical reasons for her to not head to Tokyo. Amid a spike in coronavirus infections, the Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association called for the Olympics to be canceled, worrying that the arrival of athletes from all over the world would only make local infection rates worse. In response to growing concerns, the Games have also prohibited athletes’ family members from attending, which would separate Williams from her three-year-old daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.
When the 39-year-old was asked before May’s Italian Open whether she would consider attending the Olympics if she couldn’t bring Olympia, Williams responded, “I haven’t spent 24 hours without her, so that kind of answers the question itself. We’re best friends.”
But who needs the Olympics when you have Wimbledon? The 23-time Grand Slam champion will begin vying for her 24th title when she faces Aliaksandra Sasnovich on Tuesday, June 29. Best of luck to her!