Player are dropping out of the Olympic Tennis Event like nine pins, with Thursday’s announcement that Angelique Kerber, Dans Evans and Vasek Pospisil becoming the latest to pull out of Tokyo, which starts on 24 July.
Unfortunately I recently tested positive for Covid-19. As a result, I will not be able to prepare and get myself ready for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. I am hugely disappointed and currently self isolating according to the guidelines as set out by the government. I want to wish the entire GB team all the very best for the Games and look forward to being back on court in the near future. Dan Evans
Kerber, an Olympic silver medallist at the 2016 Rio Games, stated that the past few weeks on the Tour had taken its toll on her body.
The three-times Grand Slam winner, has had a busy grass court season, having won the Bad Homburg title and reaching the semi-finals at Wimbledon.
“Representing Germany in London 2012 and Rio 2016 as part of the German team has always been one of my favourite memories of my career so far,” Kerber said in her statement.
“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.
“Thank you for your support, as this has been a very difficult decision for me. Good luck to all my fellow German athletes in Tokyo, I will miss you.”
Evans, the British No 1 withdrew from Tokyo Games after testing positive for Covid-19, stating he did not having enough time to prepare, and will be replaced by 35-year-old Jamie Murray, who will play doubles with Neal Skupski, Wimbledon’s Mixed Doubles champion.
Writing on Instagram, Evans said: “Hi guys, unfortunately I recently tested positive for Covid-19. As a result, I will not be able to prepare and get myself ready for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“I am hugely disappointed and currently self isolating according to the guidelines as set out by the government.
“I want to wish the entire GB team all the very best for the Games and look forward to being back on court in the near future.”
Evans failed to make the second week at Wimbledon, having previously never done so, after losing to upcoming American Sebastian Korda in four sets on Centre Court 12 days ago.
Murray, taking part in his fourth Olympics, competed alongside Skupski on the ATP Tour last season as well as the 2019 Davis Cup Finals.
Team GB tennis team leader Iain Bates told the LTA’s official website: “I am delighted that Jamie will be joining us on the plane to Tokyo.
“It is great to have an athlete of Jamie’s experience and calibre as part of the team and I look forward to the Games starting in just over a week’s time.”
Murray & Skupski will be joined by Andy Murray, Joe Salisbury and Heather Watson in the Team GB squad, after Evans and Johanna Konta’s withdrawals.
Canadian Pospisil also has decided against competing, citing a nagging shoulder injury among the reasons for pulling out.
“Several factors have played into this difficult decision which include an aggravated right shoulder that will need rest to prevent further injury,” the 31-year-old Pospisil said.
“This was one of the hardest professional decisions I’ve ever had to make; playing for your country is the biggest honour in sport and going to the Olympics is every young child’s dream, as it was mine.
“I had to be honest with myself that I am both physically and mentally not able to make the trip.
“I will go back to home to rest, rehab, and spend time with family and hope to be ready for the hard court swing. Thank you all for the support as always.”
The current World No 65, Pospisil had previously competed at both the London and Rio Olympics in 2012 and 2016, respectively.
Fellow Canadians Bianca Andreescu and Milos Raonic have already pulled out of the tournament, while a number of high-profile players from all over the world have decided against participation at these Olympics, including Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Dominic Thiem, Nick Kyrgios, Simona Halep and Serena Williams among them.
Andy Murray won the men’s gold medal in 2016, while Monica Puig from Puerto Rico claimed women’s gold.