Roger Federer’s dream of finally winning an Olympic gold medal has been given a boost with the news that Dominic Thiem will not play at Tokyo 2020. Federer has battled back from knee surgery and is desperate to add the medal to his long list of achievements before he retires.
The 39-year-old is one of the greatest players in men’s tennis history, having won 20 Grand Slam titles over a magnificent career.
Despite his age and recent injury problems, Federer is still at the top of the game heading into a huge summer, which will be defined by Wimbledon and the Olympic Games.
While the Swiss is currently preparing for Wimbledon after suffering a shock defeat by Felix Auger-Aliassime at the Halle Open on Wednesday, Tokyo 2020 will also be at the back of his mind.
Remarkably, considering he’s won every major available, Federer is yet to win a singles gold medal – but his chances of changing that this summer have been given a shot in the arm before the Games even get under way.
Thiem, currently ranked fifth in the world, has taken the surprising decision to pull out of Tokyo in order to focus on other goals.
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After pulling out of the French Open to protect his body, Federer was beaten by Auger Aliassime at Halle this week.
He will head to Wimbledon hoping to add to his eight wins at the All England Club, but he has already admitted that Olympic gold holds a special place in his heart.
“The Olympics is a major goal for me,” he said earlier this year.
“Unfortunately, I missed the Rio Olympics because of a left knee injury. I hope I will return to the Tokyo Olympics.
“[My] big plan is to be there [in Japan] for the Olympics.
“This is for me the big one. Maybe selfishly for me it has not been a bad thing that it was actually [postponed] a little, because of the problems I had last year.”
When Tokyo 2020 kicks off on July 23, Federer will be looking to emulate Nadal and Andre Agassi as the only men to have completed the feat of winning all four majors in tennis as well as Olympic gold.
The Swiss lost to Tommy Haas in the semi-finals at Sydney 2000, to Tomas Berdych in the second round at Athens 2004, to James Blake in the quarter-finals at Beijing 2008, to Andy Murray in the London 2012 final and was injured for Rio 2016.
He has won a gold medal, for his doubles win with compatriot Stan Wawrinka in 2008, but is still hunting that elusive singles win at the Olympics.