Tennis star Kaia Kanepi has announced she will not be going to Tokyo for next month's olympics, citing coronavirus restrictions and the lack of large crowds as the main factor. She also said that she would need a break between Wimbledon, starting next Monday, and the autumn tournaments.
Kanepi wrote in a letter to the Estonian Tennis Association (Eesti Tennise Liit) that: "I am announcing my non-participation in the Tokyo Olympics."
"Dropping out of the Tokyo Olympics will allow me to take a break after Wimbledon, something very much physically needed at my age to prepare for the year-end tournaments," Kanepi, 35, went on.
"The COVID restrictions at the Tokyo Olympic are severe. In addition to quarantine rules, it is not known whether audiences will be allowed in the grandstand or not. Over the past year, most competitions have taken place under quarantine conditions, and playing in front of empty grandstands brings different emotions than you get with an audience."
"I want the olympics to stay in my memory as I have experienced them – a place where I can go and watch other Estonian sportspeople and where there are spectators... I have participated in the Olympics twice and I have very fond memories of them," Kanepi, from Haapsalu, who has in her career reached the quarter finals twice in the French and U.S. Opens and in Wimbledon, went on.
Kanepi was one of over 50 tennis players eligible to play in the singles event at the Tokyo Olympics, themselves put back one year due to the pandemic.
Editor: Andrew Whyte