Why Roger Federer isn’t playing in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics

Roger Federer’s quest to earn his first Olympic gold medal will have to wait.

The 39-year-old tennis star will not compete in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Federer confirmed that he withdrew from the tournament in a Twitter post on Tuesday afternoon.

Why won’t he play? Federer wrote that he had a setback in his surgically repaired right knee.

Here’s a look at Federer’s statement in full.

During the grass court season, I unfortunately experienced a setback with my knee, and have accepted that I must withdraw from the Tokyo Olympic Games. I am greatly disappointed, as it has been an honor and highlight of my career each time I have represented Switzerland. I have already begun rehabilitation in the hopes of returning to the tour later this summer. I wish the entire Swiss team the best of luck and I will be rooting hard from afar. As always, Hopp Schwiz!

Certainly, this is disappointing for Federer, as it may have been his last chance to compete in the Olympics. He could still be playing when the 2024 Summer Games roll around but he would be 42 by that point.

On the bright side for Federer fans, he didn’t rule out a return to action later in the summer. Perhaps he could still have a chance to play in the 2021 U.S. Open.

Federer’s most recent match was a quarterfinal loss to Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz during Wimbledon. Federer was swept 6-0 in the final of a straight-set defeat while dealing with the balky knee.

With Federer and Rafael Nadal not participating in the 2021 Olympics, Novak Djokovic will have an easier path as he looks to earn the gold medal. He has won all three majors so far this season and can set himself up for a rare bid at a calendar Golden Grand Slam if he wins in Tokyo.

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