Tokyo Olympics 2020: Kei Nishikori joins Japanese compatriot Naomi Osaka in urging organisers to discuss safety of Games

Nishikori said it could be difficult to host the Olympics even behind closed doors, due to the high number of athletes expected to take part.

Agence France-Presse May 10, 2021 22:35:53 IST
Tokyo Olympics 2020: Kei Nishikori joins Japanese compatriot Naomi Osaka in urging organisers to discuss safety of Games

Kei Nishikori waves after beating Fabio Fognini at the Italian Open in Rome. AP

Rome: Japanese tennis star Kei Nishikori on Monday said he agreed with compatriot Naomi Osaka that organisers have to "discuss" whether they can hold the delayed Tokyo Olympics safely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A virus state of emergency in Japan's capital city and other parts of the country was extended on Friday, less than three months before the delayed Games are due to begin.

There has been increasing pressure from the Japanese public to cancel the Games, which have already been postponed once from the original dates last summer due to the pandemic.

Osaka said on Sunday there "definitely should be a discussion" on whether the Olympics should go ahead.

Former world number four Nishikori said it could be difficult to host the Olympics even behind closed doors, due to the high number of athletes expected to take part.

"I don't know what they are thinking, and I don't know how much they are thinking about how they are gonna make (a) bubble, because this is not like 100 people like these tournaments," he said after beating Fabio Fognini in the Italian Open first round.

"It's 10,000 people in the village and playing tournaments. So I don't think it's easy, especially (with) what's happening right now in Japan. It's not doing good."

Organisers have already said that foreign fans will not be allowed to travel to Japan for the Games.

Nishikori missed last year's US Open after contracting coronavirus , while he also had to quarantine in a hotel for two weeks ahead of the 2021 Australian Open in February.

"If you think only about athletes, I think you can do it," said the 31-year-old.

"If you can make (a) good bubble, maybe you can do it, but there is some risk too. You know, what happens if there is a hundred cases in the village, or can be thousands?

"The corona, it's been spreading very easy. So I will say same as Naomi. You have to really discuss, you know, how you can play really safely to happen."

Japan has recorded just over 10,500 deaths from COVID-19 , much lower than in many other countries, but its vaccine rollout is moving slowly and some areas have seen record cases as more infectious variants drive fresh waves of contagion.

Updated Date:

also read

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Foreign reporters to be tracked by GPS as Japan prepares for Games
Sports

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Foreign reporters to be tracked by GPS as Japan prepares for Games

About 6,000 reporters visiting Japan for the Olympics must provide a detailed list of areas they will visit for their first two weeks in Japan, such as sports venues and hotels.

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Organising Committee chief Seiko Hashimoto says Games '100 percent' on
Sports

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Organising Committee chief Seiko Hashimoto says Games '100 percent' on

Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto made the comments exactly 50 days before the pandemic-postponed Olympics, which remain plagued by public opposition.

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Around 10,000 Olympic volunteers have quit ahead of Games, say organisers
Sports

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Around 10,000 Olympic volunteers have quit ahead of Games, say organisers

Organisers will later Thursday mark 50 days to go when they unveil details about the medal ceremonies, in the latest attempt to build public enthusiasm despite polls showing most people in Japan want the Games delayed or cancelled.