Serena Williams Says She Won't Compete in Tokyo Olympics

Tennis star Selena Williams has confirmed she will be not compete in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics this summer. Find out what she said about her decision.

By Corinne Heller Jun 27, 2021 3:38 PMTags
Watch: Serena Williams Will Play U.S. Open Despite Coronavirus

Serena Williams is skipping this summer's Olympic Games.

Speaking at a video press conference before the start of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships on Sunday, June 27, the 39-year-old tennis star and 23-time grand slam champion said she will not take part in the upcoming event in Tokyo.

"I'm actually not on the Olympic list," Serena said, "not that I'm aware of. And if so, then I shouldn't be on it."

Serena did not specify why she will not be competing in the Tokyo Olympics. "There's a lot of reasons that I made my Olympic decision," she said, according to CNN. "I don't really want to...I don't feel like going into them today. Maybe another day. Sorry."

Serena won four gold medals between singles and doubles at four past Olympic Games—in 2000, 2008, 2012 and 2016.

"In the past it's [Olympics] been a wonderful place for me," she told reporters, "but I really haven't thought about it, so I'm going to keep not thinking about it."

2021 Summer Olympics Status Check

In May, NBC Sports reported that Serena had mathematically clinched a place in her fifth Olympics, but that it was unclear if she would compete. At the Italian Open, the athlete was asked if she would go to the Olympics if it meant being separated from her and husband Alexis Ohanian's 3-year-old daughter, Olympia.

Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images

"I haven't spent 24 hours without her," she said at the time, "so that kind of answers the question itself."

International spectators will not be allowed in venues at the Olympics amid COVID-19 concerns. Organizers and Japanese officials have not said what possible exceptions will be made for athletes wanting to bring their young children with them, NBC Sports said.

The outlet reported that if Serena is not on the U.S. Olympic team, then Jessica Pegula is next in line to take her spot in singles.

The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to start on July 23.

(E! and NBC Sports are part of the NBCUniversal family.)

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