Kei Nishikori fears “shame” if the Tokyo Olympic tennis event has to be played without fans due to the danger of spreading COVID-19.
Asia’s top player voiced his concerns on Friday in Paris after advancing when Swiss opponent Henri Laaksonen was unable to carry on after losing the opening set 7-5 after tearing an adductor.
While the 32-year-old is keen to compete in his troubled home games, he would much prefer to do it in front of the Japanese public, given that no foreigners will be allowed to enter the country due to the pandemic.
“I’ll be really happy to play, but I’m really guessing it’s gonna be really tough (to have) spectators – so that’s also the tough part.
“With just the team members, that’s not gonna be fun for me, and you don’t feel like playing the Olympics in your home country.
“That is the only thing that would give me a little bit of shame, if there is no one watching.”
With uncertainty about staging the Olympics on the one hand and the IOC and NOC insisting they will go ahead no matter what, Nishikori is understandably confused.
“As a player I just have to be mentally ready, I want them to happen, but if you think about what’s happening now in Japan and in the world… it’s tough to say.
” I think players are in a tough situation right now.”
Main photo:- Kei Nishikori leaves Simonne Mathieu court after his opponent retired in second set by Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd