Serena Williams grew up to be one of the greatest tennis players and athletes of all time. Still, despite being a four-time Olympic gold medalist, the 39-year-old former world No. 1 won’t be going after her fifth gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
The Michigan native told reporters that she might share the reasons she is not part of the major international multi-sport event in the future. “I’m actually not on the Olympic list, not that I’m aware of,” Williams said at Wimbledon on Sunday, as reported ESPN. “If so, then I shouldn’t be on it.” Williams added: “There’s a lot of reasons that I made my Olympic decision,” she said.
“I don’t really want to — I don’t feel like going into them today. Maybe another day. Sorry,” she continued. ”I have not thought about it. In the past, [the Olympics] has been a wonderful place for me. I really haven’t thought about it, so I’m going to keep not thinking about it.”
Serena Williams won gold medals during the Olympics of 2000, 2008, 2012, and 2016 — one in women’s singles and three in women’s doubles. She has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles and is a five-time winner of the WTA Tour Championships. Between 2002 and 2017, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) ranked her world No. 1 in singles on eight separate occasions.
“Ultimately, the decision to participate in the Games is an individual one, and as we emerge from the pandemic, we recognize and respect the personal decisions made by our top athletes regarding participation in the Tokyo Games,” U.S. Tennis Association spokesman Chris Widmaier told the Associated Press.
“Although we fully support the IOC and the [International Tennis Federation], and have encouraged our athletes to participate, we recognize the fact that in this unique time, some athletes may choose not to participate for personal reasons,” Widmaier added.
The 2020 Summer Olympics, known as Tokyo 2020, is scheduled to be held from 23 July to 8 August 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. It was originally scheduled to take place from 24 July to 9 August 2020, but it was postponed in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.