Shame on you for not going to the Olympics

Jul 19, 2021, 6:16:32 PM | by eli weinstein

As of next Saturday, July 24th, the tennis Olympic tournament will be played on the courts of the Ariake Tennis Park. Because of the pandemic, the decision of playing behind closed doors, the roll call is (very) weak. If some absences can be understood, others cannot and should not.

Paging world number 3, 5, 8, 10, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, 25, 28,32, 33, 34, 36, 38, 40, 41, 42, 44, 46, 48, 51, 52, 54, 55, 58, 60, 62, 63, 64, 66, 67, 69, 72, 73, 74, 77, 78 … I won’t keep on going, I’m sure you get it. So many players are not going to participate in the Olympics. It is shameful.

There are some absences that I fully understand, such as Rafael Nadal who is returning from injury, and who has coincidentally already won an Olympic gold medal in singles. I also get that Roger Federer is not going to take the risk of reinjurring his knee in front of no one and possibly calling it a career in a tournament where his chances to win are slim to none and that is being held behind closed doors.

Why? Oh I know, because he has Covid. Not.

Regarding Dominic Thiem, I must admit that I’m not quite sure how he is doing. Last I heard he was recovering from a wrist injury and is focusing on defending his US Open points that « cost » him so much. So he also is excused.

I am not going to go down the rankings and detail every player. However I would like to say a word or two about Denis Shapovalov, Casper Ruud and Jannik Sinner.

With regards to the Canadian, he is currently ranked 10th in the world. His Wimbledon performance allowed him to finally breach into the ever so thought after top 10. He is clearly in full flight playing his best tennis. And yet he will not be in Tokyo. Why? Oh I know, because he has Covid. Not. Oh Ok, I got it : he’s injured. Wrong again. Denis Shapovalov is not participating in the Olympics because he will be playing the huge Gstaad tournament.

A tournament, where he will be number 1 seed, and the number 3 seed is Casper Ruud. But wait, why is Ruud going to be in Gstaad and not in Tokyo? Are there so many Norwegian players that he feels his presence is not necessary? It’s incomprehensible.

Another one who has dropped in my estime is Jannik Sinner. His justification was that he needs to « focus on my development as a player. » He has therefore chosen to not compete in an event that is played every four years and that is historically the richest of all sporting events, in order to play the overwhelming 250 event in Atlanta !

When you read the statements that each of these players put out, there are clear common denominators. The first one is that they decided, with their teams, that it is not a good idea to compete in the Olympics. The second one is that they are young and will have other opportunities to play the Olympics in the futur. In Paris 2024 for example.

This is purely unacceptable and should not go unsanctioned.

Denis, Casper, Jannik these are the Olympics you are talking about ! Do you realize how crazy it is on your part to just not play this historical event and instead participate in a low profile 250 tournament?

There are many perks of being a professional tennis player. One of them is being able to compete in the Olympic Games. Of course this years Olympics are not the most simple ones, but it is hugely important that everybody fights this virus together. Going to the Olympics is a way to tell the virus that you are not afraid.

I don’t understand that players could have such an attitude towards such a high scale event. I also don’t comprehend why the governing bodies of tennis allow for this behavior. How can you let a player say something like : « I’m still young and I’ll have time to play the Olympics later ».

This is purely unacceptable and should not go unsanctioned.

Here is what I propose. For those players who make the cut for the Olympics and who chose not play without a medical excuse or something sufficiently acceptable, they should receive a ban from participating in the next TWO Olympics. Let’s see if then they still say that they have plenty of time to participate in futur Olympics.

Like I said, this behavior is shameful.