Serena Williams, a four-time gold medalist, hinted at Wimbledon on Sunday that she would not be playing at the Tokyo Olympics next month.
“I’m not actually on the Olympic list,” she said. “If so, then I shouldn’t be involved.”
The decision was not unexpected. Williams expressed hesitation about playing in Tokyo, in part because of travel restrictions that could have prevented her from taking her daughter Olympia with her to the Games.
“I couldn’t function without my three-year-old,” Williams said earlier this season. “I think I would be depressed. We are together every day of her life. ”
Olympic officials have not publicly announced what exceptions could be made for athletes who want to come to Tokyo with their children. It was not clear on Sunday whether that was a crucial factor for Williams, who is 39 and who will play at Wimbledon for the 20th time.
“There are many reasons why I made the Olympic decision,” she said at a press conference. “I can’t go into them today. Maybe another day. Sorry.”
Williams was one of the most successful Olympians in tennis, winning gold medals in doubles with her sister Venus in 2000, 2008 and 2012. She also won singles at the 2012 London Olympics, where a tennis tournament was held on the same grass. courts like Wimbledon.
She individual victory in London was perhaps the most dominant performance of her career. She did not come close to dropping the set in six matches and ran over four players who were in first place: Jelena Janković, Caroline Wozniacki, Victoria Azarenka and, in the final, Maria Sharapova.
Williams, who missed the 2004 Olympics due to injury, was asked on Sunday if it would be difficult for her to miss the Games.
“In the past, it was a wonderful place for me,” she said. “I really haven’t thought about it, so I’m still not going to think about it.”
The top four Americans in the standings individually are eligible to compete in Tokyo. Sofia Kenin, Jennifer Brady and 17-year-old Coco Gauff have confirmed they intend to participate. Williams’ decision opens the door to Jessica Pegula.