Novak Djokovic makes major call on participation at Tokyo Olympics

·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Novak Djokovic (pictured) during a media press conference.
Novak Djokovic (pictured) will attend the Tokyo Olympics if fans are allowed in stadiums. (Getty Images)

World No.1 Novak Djokovic has joined a number of tennis stars expressing concern over the Olympic Games but said he could change his mind if fans were allowed to attend.

Tokyo 2021 Olympic officials are under immense pressure from experts in Japan to cancel the Games altogether as the nation struggles with Covid-19.

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Organisers have already barred overseas fans, while a decision on domestic spectators is expected in late June.

Tokyo's current virus restrictions allow venues to have up to 5,000 fans or 50 per cent capacity, whichever is fewer.

But Djokovic has addressed the situation and said he would be persuaded to play if he could play in front of fans.

"I plan on playing in the Olympics, as long as fans are allowed," Djokovic said in a press conference.

"If not, I'd think twice about participating."

Japan's Asahi Shimbun, an official partner of the Tokyo Games, called for it to be cancelled, citing risks to public safety and strains on the medical system from the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We ask Prime Minister (Yoshihide) Suga to calmly and objectively assess the situation and decide on the cancellation of the event this summer," the national newspaper said in an editorial published on Wednesday.

A protester holds a placard during a demonstration against the forthcoming Tokyo Olympic Games on May 23, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.
A protester holds a placard during a demonstration against the forthcoming Tokyo Olympic Games on May 23, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

Medical groups have warned the massive event could introduce new variants to Japan even as parts of Japan, including capital Tokyo, are still under states of emergency.

Haruo Ozaki, chairman of the Tokyo Medical Association, said on Thursday that holding the Games without spectators "is the bare minimum given the current situation".

"This is the Olympics in a time of emergency," he said at a press conference.

Organisers have already barred overseas fans, while a decision on domestic spectators is expected in late June.

Tennis stars express doubt over Tokyo Olympics

Roger Federer recently called for officials to let athletes know what was going on after a number of tennis stars raised doubts about their participation.

Nadal recently claimed he still hadn't made up his mind, only months out from the Games.

"I don't know yet. Honestly I can't give you a clear answer because I don't know. I don't know my calendar," Nadal told a news conference at the Italian Open in Rome.

"In a normal world I'll never think about missing Olympics. There's no doubt about that.

While both Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams raised concerns about attending.

with AFP

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