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Venus Williams likely to miss Olympics for first time since 1996

Venus Williams

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 29: Venus Williams of United States serves in her Ladies’ Singles First Round match against Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania during Day Two of The Championships - Wimbledon 2021 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 29, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

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Venus Williams, the most decorated Olympic tennis player in history with five medals and four golds, indicated Tuesday that she will miss the Games for the first time since 1996.

Williams, after winning her Wimbledon first-round singles match, was asked if she will play doubles or mixed doubles in Tokyo.

“I don’t think so,” said Williams, who did not qualify for the Olympics outright in singles.

Williams, 41, defeated Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 on Tuesday to become the fourth-oldest woman to win a Wimbledon singles match. It’s her record 90th Grand Slam main draw dating to the 1997 French Open.

The top four U.S. women in the WTA rankings after the French Open qualified for the Olympics in singles. Williams was ranked 17th among Americans and 103rd overall at the time.

Williams could still have been selected for one of up to two doubles-only spots via USTA discretion.


She owns three Olympic doubles titles with sister Serena (who indicated Saturday that she is not playing the Tokyo Games) and mixed doubles silver with Rajeev Ram from 2016.

Williams played her first Grand Slam women’s doubles match in three years at the French Open earlier this month, losing in the first round with Coco Gauff. Williams is expected to play Wimbledon mixed doubles with Australian Nick Kyrgios.

The U.S. Olympic women’s tennis team has not been announced, but in Serena’s absence, the singles roster is expected to be Sofia Kenin, Jennifer Brady, Gauff and Jessica Pegula. The highest-ranked American doubles players are Nicole Melichar and Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

Also this week, Romanian Simona Halep and Swiss Stan Wawrinka joined the group of Grand Slam winners to withdraw from the Tokyo Olympics.

Halep, the world’s third-ranked women’s singles player, tweeted that she is still out with a left calf tear that forced her out of the French Open and Wimbledon, tournaments that she has won.

Wawrinka, a 2008 Olympic doubles champion with Roger Federer, said he is out after foot surgery, according to reports. Wawrinka, 36, last played in March.

Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem previously announced they will not play in Tokyo.

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