Roger Federer says he will pursue elusive Olympic gold in Tokyo
Roger Federer will turn 40 in 2021, but before then, he wants to play once more in the Olympics, he confirmed Monday.
As with all athletes, especially those in their late 30s, he added the qualifier “if healthy.”
“I’ve been thinking about it for weeks now,” Federer said.
Federer said he needed time to consider the schedule and how to juggle his family life, the U.S. Open, the grass-court season and the clay-court season.
An Olympic singles gold is one of the few medals to elude the Swiss star in his career, though he has a silver medal from 2012 and a doubles gold from 2008. He reached the semifinals as an unseeded 19-year-old in his first appearance in 2000 but lost in the second round in 2004 and the quarterfinals in 2008. He advanced to the final for the first time in 2012, losing to Britain’s Andy Murray.
He missed the 2016 Olympics with a knee problem that kept him sidelined for much of the year.
The Olympics also hold sentimental value for him — he met his future wife, Mirka Federer, in Sydney in his first Olympic appearance. He also has twice carried the Swiss flag in Olympic opening ceremonies before declining the honor in 2012.
Barring injury, qualification shouldn’t be an issue. The top 56 players in the ATP singles rankings will qualify as long as they are in the top four within their own country.
Federer will need an exemption to the rule that players must have played a set number of Davis Cup ties in the Olympic cycle, but the qualification criteria include an exemption for players who have demonstrated a commitment to the Davis Cup in the past. He’s sure to meet that requirement, given his 27 prior appearances, his Davis Cup commitment award and his 2014 title with Stan Wawrinka.
The 2020 Olympic competition will take place on hard courts — specifically DecoTurf, the surface used at the U.S. Open. Of his 102 career titles, 70 have been on hard courts, including five consecutive U.S. Open wins from 2004 to 2008.
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