Tennis at the Olympics is often considered an unofficial fifth major tournament of the year and to some, the pride of a gold medal may even be more enticing than the thrill of a Grand Slam victory.
While many of the best players are set to compete in this year’s tournament, including Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka, other renowned names will not feature in Tokyo this summer.
Here are some of the most recognised players who will be absent from the competition:
Williams has won four Olympic gold medals across her career, with three coming in doubles and one in singles at London 2012.
However, the 39-year-old has endured a tough year to date, failing to reach beyond the quarter-finals of any major as the dream of a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam slips further from her grasp.
With the American star clearly focused on being fit for the US Open later this year, the 23-time Grand Slam winner has confirmed she will not take part in the Olympics.
Speaking on this choice, Williams said: “There’s a lot of reasons I made my Olympic decision. I don’t really want to… I don’t feel like going into them today. Maybe another day. Sorry.”
Contrastingly, an Olympic singles gold medal is the only honour to elude Federer in his illustrious career.
The 39-year-old was intent on challenging in Tokyo this summer but has suffered a setback to an existing knee injury.
The world number nine lost in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon last week and last won a major back in 2018 at the Australian Open.
The Swiss star wrote on Twitter: “During the grass-court season, I, unfortunately, experienced a setback with my knee and have accepted that I must withdraw from the Tokyo Olympic Games.
“I am greatly disappointed, as it has been an honour and highlight of my career each time I have represented Switzerland.”
British star Konta has suffered yet more heartbreak after testing positive for Covid-19.
The 30-year-old was already forced to withdraw from Wimbledon after coming into close contact with a member of her team who returned a positive test and she has now contracted the virus herself.
The Brit says she’s been unable to train for two and a half weeks and would not be ready to compete in Tokyo.
Speaking on social media, Konta said: "I'll be doing my best to get back to full health and fitness and ready to compete again soon.
"During this time, I'll also be glued to my TV cheering on my fellow Team GB athletes and hope you will all join me."
Similarly to Federer, Nadal has withdrawn from the Olympics because of fitness problems and cited the need to listen to his body.
The Spaniard missed this year’s Wimbledon and lost to Djokovic in the semi-final of the French Open but is confident of prolonging his career and “fighting for those professional and personal goals at the maximum level of competition.”
Nadal won a singles gold medal at the Olympics in Beijing in 2008 and a doubles gold at Rio in 2016.
Halep is another to have pulled out of the tournament due to injury as she continues to recover from a calf tear.
The Romanian missed the French Open and Wimbledon in an attempt to be fit in time for the Games but she has failed to recover in time.
Writing on Twitter, the world number three said: “Having to skip the Olympics is incredibly tough to digest, but I am determined to come back stronger.
“I will be watching and cheering on the Romanian athletes from home.”