“It’s Not Doing Good”: Kei Nishikori Expresses Concerns Over Tokyo Olympics 2021

Published 05/11/2021, 7:48 AM EDT
Kei Nishikori of Japan reacts during his Men’s Singles third round match Alex de Minaur of Australia on day five of the 2019 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)


Recently, Kei Nishikori expressed his concerns over holding the 2021 Tokyo Olympics amid the raging coronavirus situation in Japan. With just three months left for the commencement of the Tokyo Olympics, organizers have already barred foreign fans from traveling to the Games.

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Being mindful of the crisis, Nishikori believes the safety of athletes would be at risk, and managing a bio-secure bubble for thousands of participants in the village is going to be a challenge.

“I don’t know what they are thinking, and I don’t know how much they are thinking about how they are gonna make (a) bubble, because this is not like 100 people like these tournaments. It’s 10,000 people in the village and playing tournaments. So I don’t think it’s easy, especially (with) what’s happening right now in Japan. It’s not doing good.” said Nishikori.

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Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – Japan’s Kei Nishikori in action during his first round match against Britain’s Dan Evans REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

In fact, the Japanese public has been increasingly vocal over canceling the Tokyo Olympics with a state of emergency already declared in the capital city.

Kei Nishikori talks about Tokyo Olympics

Originally scheduled in July 2020, the Games got postponed because of the COVID-19 virus outbreak across the world and any further delay would raise a host of issues.

Apart from Nishikori, the 4-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka has spoken about the need for discussions among organizers on whether they can hold the delayed Tokyo Olympics.

Speaking in a press conference at the Italian Open, Nishikori talked about the risk of a potential virus outbreak in the Games Village irrespective of a strong bubble also poses a threat to the public.

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Tennis – ATP Cup – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Japan’s Kei Nishikori during his group stage match against Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

Considering the rate at which the virus the spreading, the 31-year-old feels the contingency plans need to be robust in case of an outbreak.

“If you can make (a) good bubble, maybe you can do it, but there is some risk too. You know, what happens if there is a hundred cases in the village, or can be thousands?, Nishikori said.

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At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Nishikori won the bronze medal by defeating Rafael Nadal and brought Japan its first Olympic tennis medal in 96 years.

Currently competing at the Italian Open, Nishikori has reached the third round and will most likely face Alexander Zverev. Nishikori defeated Fabio Fognini in the opening round and received a walkover in the second round after Pablo Carreño Busta withdrew from the tournament.

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Kshitij Tayal

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Kshitij Tayal is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having played district-level tennis competitions, Kshitij is also a tenured journalist of the sport with over four years of experience. At EssentiallySports, he pens down some thought-provoking pieces on players and tournaments across the ATP and WTA.

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