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As we get closer to the arrival of the Tokyo Olympics, the tennis fields continue to change with each passing day. On Thursday, a trio of competitors who’ve previously stood on the medal podium posted updates on their participation via social media.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who said his chances of attending dropped to 50-50 following his men’s record-tying 20th Grand Slam triumph at Wimbledon, confirmed his chase for the calendar Golden Slam was on in a short but significant update.

“I booked my flight for Tokyo and will proudly be joining #TeamSerbia for the Olympics,” the 2008 bronze medalist in singles wrote.


The Serbian shared the decision by quoting a tweet highlighting his special birthday message for six-year-old fan Koujirou.

Already a sizable favorite to collect the one item missing from his trophy cabinet, Djokovic won’t see the likes of 2008 singles gold medalist Rafael Nadal, 2012 silver medalist Roger Federer and 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem at the Ariake Tennis Park, all having already opted out for different reasons. Two-time Olympic singles medalist Juan Martin del Potro, who knocked out Djokovic in a blockbuster opening-round clash at the 2016 Games, has been sidelined since June 2019. Second-ranked Daniil Medvedev is slated to make his debut, alongside two-time defending Olympic champion Andy Murray.


Meanwhile, Angelique Kerber and Victoria Azarenka joined the growing list of withdrawals. Kerber, coming off a semifinal run at the grass-court major, wrote that getting back for a third trip to the global spectacle had been a “constant motivation” before deciding time away from the match court was in her best interest.

“Representing Germany in London 2012 and Rio 2016 as part of the German team has always been one of my favorite memories of my career so far,” said Kerber, who took home silver in singles five years ago. “This makes it even more disappointing for me to accept the fact that my body needs rest after the intense few weeks that lie behind me and that I have to recover first before returning to competition later this summer!”


Azarenka, the 2012 gold medalist in mixed doubles (with Max Mirnyi) and bronze medalist in singles, published, “With all the challenges we are facing as it relates to the pandemic, I know in my heart this is the right decision for myself and the team. I look forward to returning to the 2024 Olympics in Paris to represent Belarus.”

Third-ranked countrywoman Aryna Sabalenka is expected to compete alongside the two women ranked above her, Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka. The past two gold medalists, Monica Puig and Serena Williams, are among the players who won't be present. Puig is out for the season after undergoing right shoulder surgery in June, while Williams won't attend for reasons she chose not to expand on when asked at Wimbledon.

It was reported later Thursday that Alex de Minaur won’t be able to represent Australia after his pre-departure swabs tested positive for COVID-19. De Minaur joined British hopefuls Dan Evans and Johanna Konta in being ruled out this week as a result of the coronavirus.

Canada’s Vasek Pospisil also pulled the plug on suiting up for his country, citing an aggravated right shoulder as one of his primary influences. The 31-year-old narrowly missed out on winning a bronze medal with Daniel Nestor in Rio de Janeiro when they came out on the losing end to U.S. duo Steve Johnson and Jack Sock.