Heart decides as Federer confirms Tokyo Olympics participation

Updated October 15, 2019

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Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates after defeating Karen Khachanov of Russia during their sixth session men's singles match on day four of the Hopman Cup tennis tournament in Perth on January 2, 2018. — AFP/File
Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates after defeating Karen Khachanov of Russia during their sixth session men's singles match on day four of the Hopman Cup tennis tournament in Perth on January 2, 2018. — AFP/File

TOKYO: Roger Federer confirmed his participation in next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo and said on Monday that he had listened to his heart before making the decision.

The Swiss 38-year-old competed in the first of four Olympic Games at Sydney in 2000 and won the doubles gold partnering Stan Wawrinka in 2008 and a silver in singles in 2012. He missed the 2016 Olympics due to a knee injury.

“At the end of the day my heart decided I would love to play the Olympic Games again,” Federer told reporters during a promotional event for his sponsor Uniqlo in Tokyo.

Federer will attempt to win a singles gold medal at the July 24-Aug 9 Games, the only major prize that the 20-time Grand Slam winner has yet to win.

“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 [in 2020],” Federer, who will turn 39 during the Games, added.

“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 will turn 39 shortly after the Olympic tournament. He will need a wild-card exemption because he has not played Davis Cup games to be eligible.

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, and Federer’s eternal rival Rafael Nadal, have both already said they will compete at Tokyo, the trio setting the scene for a highly competitive tournament.

Nobody will be writing the ageing triumvirate off.

The 32-year-old Djokovic is world number one and the player poised to take top spot off him in the coming weeks is Nadal, 33.

Federer is third in the world rankings, while Nadal and Djokovic won all four Grand Slams between them this year.

Published in Dawn, October 15th, 2019