Swiss world number four Stan Wawrinka has withdrawn from the Olympic Games because of a back injury, meaning five of the men’s top-10 players will not participate in Rio. Roger Federer, Milos Raonic, Tomas Berdych, Dominic Thiem, Richard Gasquet, John Isner, Feliciano Lopez and Nick Kyrgios had earlier withdrawn. The 31-year-old is the third Swiss player to withdraw after Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic who also scratched from the competition through injury. That leaves just two remaining players – Martina Hingis, whose last appearance at the Games was in 1996, and Timea Bacsinszky – from the initial six-member Olympic team.
The tennis, which starts on Saturday, has been hit by a number of pull-outs over injury, fears of the Zika virus or scheduling complaints. Wawrinka, who had won the Olympic doubles gold medal with Federer at the 2008 Games aggravated his back injury in Toronto last week where he reached the semi-finals.
“I am very sad,” said Wawrinka, the former French and Australian Open champion.
“Going to Rio was close to my heart. After Beijing (2008) and London (2012), I wanted to live these Games in Brazil.
“Sadly, it’s not possible. I wish good luck to all the Swiss athletes who will go to Rio and I will support them from distance.”
His withdrawal has dealt another body blow to the tennis tournament which has been hit by a series of high-profile pull-outs. The women’s singles are stripped of Simona Halep, Victoria Azarenka, who is pregnant and Karolina Pliskova. Now it remains to be seen whether Nadal would decide to play in Rio as he makes a return from a wrist injury which has kept him off the tour for two months. His uncle and coach Toni said his nephew may have to rethink his schedule – even possibly sitting out the singles.
“I don’t know because that depends on who would be better for the team,” Toni Nadal said when asked if his nephew will prioritize the singles. “We are waiting until Tuesday to take a decision to play all the things or not — singles, doubles and mixed doubles” he said.
These pull-outs are certainly sad news for tennis fans around the world as they would be eagerly waiting for the tennis action to start at Rio.