Roger Federer, still seeking singles gold, confirms he'll compete in fifth Olympic games in Tokyo

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Cassandra Negley
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Tennis - Laver Cup - Palexpo, Geneva, Switzerland - September 22, 2019  Team Europe's Roger Federer in action during his singles match against Team World's John Isner  REUTERS/Pierre Albouy
Roger Federer, if he remains healthy, will compete in his fifth Olympic games. (REUTERS/Pierre Albouy)

Roger Federer will play in his fifth Olympics next summer as long as his health allows it. Federer confirmed Monday from Tokyo that he plans to compete at the 2020 Olympic games in Japan next summer after determining how it would fit into his schedule.

“Every Olympic games has been very, very special to me,” Federer said during the announcement. “I just felt like this, for me, is something I would like to do if I am healthy.

“At the end of the day my heart decided I would love to play the Olympic Games again.”

Federer, 38, is still chasing an Olympic gold medal, one of the few medals he has yet to win. The Swiss player took part in his first Olympics in Sydney in 2000. The unseeded 19-year-old reached the semifinals. At Athens 2004, he lost in the second round and at Bejing 2008, he lost in the quarterfinals. He did win a doubles gold in 2008 alongside Stan Wawrinka.

His only Olympic singles medal came in London in 2012, when he lost to Britain’s Andy Murray and earned silver. He had to skip the 2016 games in Rio due to a knee problem that forced him to miss the second half of the year.

“I carried the flag twice for Switzerland in Athens and Beijing, I’ve got a gold and a silver, and I would love to play again so I’m very excited,” Federer said, via the Olympic Channel.

According to NBC Sports, the Olympic games also have sentimental value. Federer met his wife, Mirka, in Sydney during his very first games. He said he discussed with his team how the 2020 Olympics would fit into his schedule as well as his family life with his wife and four children. The tennis competition begins two weeks after Wimbledon and finishes four weeks prior to the U.S. Open.

Federer has five consecutive U.S. Open titles from 2004 through 2008 and has won 68.6 of his career titles on hard courts (70 of 102). That bodes well for Tokyo, which will be played on the “DecoTurf” that is used at the U.S. Open, per NBC Sports.

The top 56 players in the ATP singles rankings qualify for the Olympics as long as they one of their country’s top four players. They also must have played a certain number of Davis Cup ties, though there is an exemption for those who have showed a commitment in the past and Federer would meet that, per NBC Sports.

Federer is currently ranked No. 3 in the world behind Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, respectively.

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