John Isner, the highest-ranked U.S. male singles tennis player, will not play the Tokyo Olympics, preferring to stay at or near home with his family in late July.
Isner, who said in January 2020 that he was leaning toward skipping the Olympics for a second consecutive time, confirmed on Wednesday that he 1) would not have gone to the Games in 2020 and 2) already decided he will not do so this summer.
“I know the Olympics, it’s a fantastic honor. There’s no doubt about that,” Isner said in January 2020. “Right now, at this stage in my career, it’s not a huge priority for me. So that’s probably the main reason I won’t be going. I certainly love playing in the summer in America, and I’m going to focus on that.”
Isner, who turns 36 on April 26, is likely giving up his last chance to play Olympic singles. In his only Olympic participation, he reached the quarterfinals of the 2012 London Games, plus lost an opening-round doubles match there with Andy Roddick.
The Tokyo Games take place the same week as a lower-level ATP Tour event in Atlanta that Isner, a former University of Georgia star, has won five times.
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“I’m going to stay closer to home and be with my family and focus on the events that will be back stateside,” Isner said Wednesday before he plays the Miami Open.
The top four U.S. male singles players in the ATP Rankings after the French Open in June are in line to qualify for the Olympics, assuming they are ranked high enough overall to make the 64-man field.
Isner is currently the highest-ranked American male singles player at No. 28, but his absence likely opens up a spot for another player. He’s followed by No. 32 Taylor Fritz, who is expected to go to Tokyo, No. 41 Reilly Opelka, No. 53 Tommy Paul and No. 58 Frances Tiafoe.
Another veteran American, No. 63 Sam Querrey, said in January 2020 that he planned to skip the Olympics. If the Olympic field was taken from today’s ATP Rankings, Querrey would not qualify.
A player on the rise is 20-year-old Sebastian Korda, who was ranked No. 224 at this time last year. He is now No. 87.
Older sisters Nelly, 22, and Jessica, 28, are Nos. 3 and 18 in world golf rankings. At least one of them appears destined for the Tokyo Olympics next year, given a nation can send four golfers per gender to the Games if ranked in the top 15 after June’s Women’s PGA Championship.
If he can join either sister in Tokyo, they would become the first U.S. brother and sister to compete in the same Olympics in different sports, according to Olympic historian Bill Mallon of the OlyMADMen and Olympedia.org.
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