Is it a coincidence that a handful of the best tennis stars are missing in action at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics? Maybe not. But his choice not to be on the biggest stage there is for an athlete raises a larger question. Has the global flagship event, held once every four years, lost its appeal to athletes today, especially those not associated with team sports? While it would be too overwhelming to say that the Olympics do not fill athletes with desire and motivation as they used to in previous decades, there is a shift in perception whereby the pecking order seems to have lowered for certain athletes in tennis. Playing in the new normal, which requires today’s tennis stars to stay in biosecurity restricted spaces and play games behind closed doors, comes at a mental cost and it is this backdrop and the general playing scenario that, such Once, it forced players like Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Denis Shapovalov to fail the Summer Games. Expressing remorse for his decision not to play for the flag at the Tokyo Games, the ‘King of Clay’ shared a series of tweets saying that the Olympics mean a lot to him, but that he had to make a difficult decision for the sake of prolong your career. Earlier, after a grueling season on clay that ended with a semi-final outing at Roland-Garros, Nadal had said that he would take time out of the game to rest and recover before deciding on his participation in Wimbledon and the Olympics. “I have decided not to participate in this year’s championships at Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics. It is never an easy decision to make, but after listening to my body and discussing it with my team, I understand that it is the right decision,” Nadal wrote. Ace tennis coach and mentor Patrick Mouratoglou has opened up on how he came to turn hugely promising Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz into a left-handed player.
The young Spaniard will play Russian World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev
In a post on his official Twitter page, Serena Williams’ longtime coach Patrick Mouratoglou said that he first came across a photograph of the rising Spaniard, and what struck him about it was the uncanny similarity of his shot-making style with Rafael Nadal. It was then that he thought of turning Alcaraz into a left-handed player just to see if his hunch about him was right. Nicknamed ‘The Coach,’ Mouratoglou tagged the image with a post saying, “When I saw that photo of Carlos Alcaraz, I immediately thought of someone and I decided to turn him into a lefty to make sure that I was seeing well…” Currently ranked 75th in singles, the Murcia-born Alcaraz, opened his Wimbledon campaign with a grueling five-set win over Yasutaka Uchiyama of Japan. In a see-saw affair, the Spaniard bossed the early exchanges with his heavy groundstrokes and coasted to a 6-3 win in the opening set.