Tokyo Olympics: Djokovic will play only in presence of spectators
Serbian maestro Novak Djokovic, on Thursday, said he would reconsider taking part in the Tokyo Olympics if it takes place behind closed doors. Notably, the spectators might be barred from attending the Games due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Due to this, a number of other tennis stars, including Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams, are also unsure of their participation. Here is more.
In a recent press conference, Djokovic said he will play the Tokyo Games if the fans are allowed. "I plan on playing in the Olympics, as long as fans are allowed. If not, I'd think twice about participating," he stated.
Djokovic is not the first tennis player to express concerns over the rescheduled Olympics. Earlier, Nadal and Williams admitted they were unsure of their participation. Swiss maestro Roger Federer also stated that he is still fretting over the same. Japanese stars Naomi Osaka and Kei Nishikori have raised similar concerns as the nation continues to struggle amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The organizers of Tokyo Games have barred overseas fans, while a decision on domestic spectators is expected in late June. Notably, Tokyo's incumbent COVID-19 restrictions allow venues to have up to 5,000 fans (or 50 percent in capacity). Haruo Ozaki, chairman of the Tokyo Medical Association, said that holding the Games without spectators "is the bare minimum, given the current situation".
A Tokyo medical group, on Thursday, warned that the Olympics should be held without fans. Another association of doctors have urged the organizers to completely cancel the Games, warning of a potential "disaster". "A new variant might arise and may be called the Tokyo Olympic strain. Some people are acting almost like dictators," Naoto Ueyama, chair of the Japan Doctors Union, recently said.
It is interesting to note that Djokovic is yet to win an Olympic gold medal. He won a bronze medal for Serbia at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The world number one is presently competing in the Belgrade tournament. He has booked a spot in the semi-finals after defeating Federico Coria 6-1, 6-0. The victory puts him fifth on the list of Open era wins.