US Open champion Thiem joins Nadal in skipping Tokyo Olympics

By Sports Desk June 17, 2021

Dominic Thiem has joined Rafael Nadal in announcing he will not compete at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The 27-year-old US Open champion pinned his decision on the belief he would struggle to find his best form, having endured a tough 2021 season so far.

Thiem has lost his last three matches, including a first-round defeat to Pablo Andujar at the French Open, and has an overall 9-8 win-loss record for the year.

World number five Thiem confirmed, however, that he intends to play Wimbledon, which begins on June 28, and will then focus on getting in the best possible shape for his grand slam title defence at Flushing Meadows.

Nadal said earlier on Thursday that he would play neither Wimbledon nor the Olympics, where the tennis tournament starts on July 24, because he wished to recover from his clay-court season efforts.

Women's tour superstar Naomi Osaka has elected to miss Wimbledon but said on Thursday she would represent Japan at her home Olympics.

Thiem revealed his Olympics decision in a statement posted on his Twitter page, saying: "After talking with my team and analysing the situation I have taken the very difficult decision to withdraw from competing in the Tokyo Olympics.

"For me, like all athletes, taking part in the Olympics and representing my country is a huge honour and that makes this decision even tougher. However, 2021 did not start as expected and I don't feel ready to play my best in Tokyo.

"These last two weeks I have been training hard – and I’m starting to improve my conditioning and concentration little by little. My goal is to work hard the coming weeks, give my best at Wimbledon and keep training and hopefully defend my US Open title.

"I wish the entire Austrian team traveling to Tokyo all the best. I am young and I hope to be able to play for Austria at the Olympics in Paris 2024."

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    The Royal Spanish Tennis Federation confirmed on Wednesday the 22-time major winner will feature in the men's singles and men's doubles events, which will be played on the clay courts of Roland-Garros.

    Nadal, who will partner Carlos Alcaraz in the doubles, played what was expected to be his final French Open campaign last month, where he said he was unlikely to play at Wimbledon following his first-round exit to Alexander Zverev.

    And the 38-year-old confirmed his decision on his social media channels, opting to continue his preparations on clay rather than switching from grass at the All England Club, where he is a two-time champion.

    "It was announced yesterday that I will play at the Summer Olympics in Paris, my last Olympics," said Nadal, who will prepare for the Olympics by entering the ATP 250 event in Bastad earlier in July.

    "With this goal, we believe that the best thing for my body is not to change surfaces, and to keep playing on clay until then. It's for this reason that I will miss playing at the Championships this year at Wimbledon.

    "I am saddened not to be able to live this year the great atmosphere of that amazing event that will always be in my heart, and be with all the British fans that always gave me great support. I will miss you all."

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    Messi is gearing up for Argentina's Copa America title defence, which begins against Canada on June 20, while they will also face Chile and Peru in Group A.

    The final takes place on July 14, with the Olympic tournament beginning in Paris 10 days later. 

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    "I talked to Mascherano and the truth is we both understood the situation," Messi told ESPN.

    "It's hard [to think about the Olympics right now] because we're in Copa America. It would be two, three straight months of not being with the club, and more than anything, I'm not at an age to be in everything.

    "I have to choose carefully, and it would be too much to play two straight tournaments. I've been very lucky to play in the Olympics, and win it together with [Mascherano].

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