Serena Williams: Tennis legend reveals she will not play at Tokyo 2020 Olympics

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Tennis icon Serena Williams has confirmed she will not be playing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games next month. 

The 23-time Grand Slam winner is currently preparing for Wimbledon, which begins tomorrow. During a pre-tournament press conference, Williams revealed she would not be flying out to Japan to compete in the Olympics following the conclusion of the Grand Slam. 

"I’m actually not on the Olympic list," she said. "If I am, I shouldn’t be on it."

"There’s a lot of reasons that I made my Olympic decision, and I don’t feel like going into them today, but maybe another day."

Williams has previously hinted she would not feature at Tokyo 2020. She told media at the Italian Open she would be unwilling to spend time away from her three-year-old daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. Coronavirus regulations at the Games would force Williams to be separated from her family. 

"I haven’t spent 24 hours without her, so that kind of answers the question itself," Williams said at the time. 

"It was supposed to be last year, and now it’s this year, and then there is this pandemic, and there is so much to think about. Then there is the Grand Slams. It’s just a lot. So I have really been taking it one day at a time to a fault, and I definitely need to figure out my next moves."

Given this answer, it is unsurprising Williams has decided to miss Tokyo 2020. Fans will nevertheless be disappointed about her absence, with the 39-year-old American considered one of the greatest Olympic tennis players of all time. 

Williams played at Sydney 2000, Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016, winning four gold medals between singles and doubles. She missed Athens 2004 due to a knee injury.

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The United States will now likely be represented at the Games by Jessica Pegula, Sofia Kenin, Jennifer Brady and Coco Gauff. The Olympics get underway on July 23rd and will run until August 8th.

Williams is seeking a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam at the All England Lawn Tennis club in the coming weeks. She has been in disappointing form of late, but has always thrived on the grass of Wimbledon. The legend has won the tournament an impressive seven times. 

Williams will get this year's Wimbledon campaign underway with a clash against Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus. She has a projected quarter-final fixture against third seed Elina Svitolina. Her chances of success may be bolstered by the absence of Simona Halep due to injury and Naomi Osaka due to mental health concerns. 

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