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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

One Olympic Role Could Offer Opportunity for many Athletes

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The Olympics in Tokyo in 2020 bring with them the promise of additional opportunities for the men’s and women’s national tennis teams.

The quadrennial games, though, require their own agenda. The International Tennis Federation has been working to carve out more of those opportunities and build on the careers of the athletes, having begun its efforts to elevate women’s tennis before Tokyo and now, as its annual sports science conference unfolded at the WAMU Symphony Center here in Williamsburg, Va., its emphasis was increased on men’s tennis.

“We want to start the process of understanding what’s going on with men’s tennis, what is going on with male athletes in general,” said Karen Byers, the ITF’s executive director. “To look at what’s going on with fitness and physique and strength and agility in certain areas.”

As a result, the ITF was urging the three leading U.S. players, Americans John Isner and Jack Sock and Australian Nick Kyrgios, as well as leading teams in the men’s game — Novak Djokovic of Serbia, Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria and Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain — to undergo increased conditioning testing as a way to possibly assess their strengths and weaknesses.

The tests will involve strength and balance tests during his pro career, as well as at a moment when they can still improve, when most are competing at the best that their abilities have permitted and when a quarter of the top 20 men’s players will not be able to compete because of injury.

Along the same lines, the ITF proposed that ATP players take part in United Nations Games/COP21 world events, which combine athletics, swimming, diving, fencing, judo, boxing, taekwondo and basketball. The tests would be required before they compete.

Tennis players from Jamaica, Ghana, New Zealand, Namibia, New Zealand, Tajikistan, Tajikistan, the Philippines, Tunisia, Uruguay, South Africa, Switzerland, Turkey, USA and Australia will compete in a mixed relay event at the Olympic Games. They will compete as fast women, fast men, no women, no men and no women in time trial events at Olympic stadiums in London and Rio.

When tennis officials and players are not taking part in events, the most-used stadiums in the men’s World Tour are at London’s Wimbledon, where the men’s tournament is not played until after the singles championships, and the U.S. Open, in New York, where the finals are played.

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