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By Richard Pagliaro | Tuesday March 24, 2020

The coronavirus has taken out the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe announced an agreement with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach to postpone the Olympics for about a year due to safety concerns over the coronavirus crisis.
2021 is the latest date that these Tokyo Olympics could be held, Abe said.

Tennis Express

“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community,” the International Olympic Committee said in a statement.

The Olympic flame will remain in Tokyo in what organizers hope can be a “beacon of hope” during this bleak time as COVID-19 ravages nations around the world.

“The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present,” the IOC said in a statement. “Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.”

The one-year postponement could open the door for younger players to challenge for a place on the podium.

Andy Murray and Monica Puig are the defending Olympic gold-medal singles champions.

The delay could help the 32-year-old Murray who has been continuing his recovery from hip resurfacing surgery.

Murray, the only man to successfully defend the Olympic singles gold medal, has not played since the Davis Cup Finals last November, but says he has been training in preparation for another comeback.

“I’ve been practicing on the court in the last 10 days or so and been feeling quite good,” Murray told Amazon Prime Sport. “[My hip] has been responding well.” The one-year postponement could challenge the Olympic dreams of several superstar champions.

Venus Williams and Serena Williams, who have each captured four Olympic gold medals, are the most decorated tennis champions in Olympic history.

The Williams sisters made history at the 2012 London Olympics capturing their third consecutive doubles gold medal, giving them both four gold medals. Serena Williams also won the singles gold in London, joining Venus, who swept gold in singles and doubles at the 2000 Sydney Games.

Venus Williams has said she values the Olympic Games more than Grand Slams because of the pride she feels as an Olympian.

"For me, personally, yes (the Olympics are above Grand Slams)," Venus Williams said. "The proudest moment for me when they do the on-court announcements, are the Olympic results. For me, that feels legitimate."

Serena Williams will be 39 years old when the 2021 Olympics are played. Venus Williams celebrates her 40th birthday on June 17th.

Twenty-time Grand Slam king Roger Federer, who is the face of Japanese brand Uniqlo, was committed to playing Tokyo before the IOC announced its postponement.

"I've been debating with my team for a few weeks now, months actually, what I should do in the summer after Wimbledon and before the US Open," Federer said last October. "I carried the flag twice for Switzerland in Athens and Beijing, I've got a gold and a silver, and I would love to play again so I'm very excited."

Federer partnered buddy Stan Wawrinka to the Olympic doubles gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics where he served as Switzerland's flag bearer. Federer fell to American James Blake in the Beijing quarterfinals.

The 38-year-old Swiss’ best singles performance came when he claimed the silver medal at the 2012 Olympics bowing to home favorite Murray in a festive final on the grass of Wimbledon.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who has called his opening exit to Juan Martin del Potro in the 2016 Rio Olympics one of his most painful losses, is aiming for his first Olympic gold medal.

The eight-time Australian Open champion will be 33 when the 2021 Tokyo Games are played.

Rafael Nadal, who owns Olympic gold medals in both singles and doubles, is one of just four players in history—Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf and Serena Williams are the others—to capture the career Golden Slam, all four major championships and the Olympic singles gold medal.

The 19-time Grand Slam champion says the Olympic Games, by far, is the “hardest tournament to win” because it’s not an annual event and the pressure of representing a nation is immense.


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