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Olympics Dominoes Continue to Fall With Federer Withdrawal; Djokovic Could be Next

By Ricky Dimon

Roger Federer announced on Tuesday that he has withdrawn from the Tokyo Olympics.

Federer, who lost to Hubert Hurkacz 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-0 in the Wimbledon quarterfinals last week, cited a knee setback while playing at the All-England Club as the reason for his decision. The 39-year-old Swiss missed almost all of the abbreviated 2020 season following multiple knee surgeries.

“I unfortunately experienced a setback with my knee, and have accepted that I must withdraw from the Tokyo Olympic Games,” Federer posted on social media. “I am greatly disappointed, as it has been an honor and highlight of my career each time I have represented Switzerland. I have already begun rehabilitation in the hopes of returning to the tour later this summer. I wish the entire Swiss team the best of luck and I will be rooting hard from afar.”

In all likelihood, there is no need for Federer fans to press the panic button. The 20-time Grand Slam champion did not look great against Hurkacz, obviously, but he also didn’t look hurt. Chances are good that–like many others–Federer does not want to deal with all of the travel and other restrictions to play in front of no fans in a tournament that he has little chance of winning.

A whole host of top players have already withdrawn for those reasons, including Bianca Andreescu earlier this week.

Novak Djokovic’s participation is in doubt, although nothing has been confirmed. The top-ranked Serb, who has won the first three majors of 2021 and is therefore still in contention for the calendar-year Golden Slam and/or the Golden Slam, said following his Wimbledon triumph that he is “50/50” on the Olympics.

“That’s not great news,” Djokovic responded when asked about his thoughts on the spectator ban in Tokyo. “I received that news yesterday or two days ago. That was really disappointing to hear.

“I also hear that there’s going to be a lot of restrictions within the (Olympic) village. Possibly you would not be able to see other athletes perform live. I can’t even have my stringer; that is a very important part of my team. I can’t have a stringer. I’m limited with the amount of people I can take in my team, as well.

“I’ll have to think about it. Right now, my plan was always to go to the Olympic Games. But right now I’m a little bit divided. It’s kind of 50/50 because of what I heard in the last couple days.”

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.