The Tokyo Olympics suffered an surprising blow on Monday when Naomi Osaka – the Japanese tennis champion who might emerge because the face of those Video games – admitted that she was “probably not certain” whether or not they need to go forward. After latest polls had prompt that 60 per cent of Japan’s inhabitants want to see the Olympics cancelled, this was one other reminder of how controversial these pandemic Video games have turn into. Osaka was chatting with the BBC in Rome, the place she is enjoying her second clay-court occasion of the season. “I am an athlete, and naturally my fast thought is that I need to play within the Olympics,” she mentioned. “However as a human, I might say we’re in a pandemic, and if individuals aren’t wholesome, and if they are not feeling secure, then it is positively a extremely huge trigger for concern.” When the BBC’s Russell Fuller requested Osaka if it could be acceptable for Tokyo to stage the Video games, she replied: “To be trustworthy, I am probably not certain.” Osaka is ranked No2 on this planet, however on the arduous courts that will likely be used for the Olympic tennis occasion, she would absolutely begin as favorite. She has gained 4 of the final six hard-court majors, whereas world No1 Ashleigh Barty has by no means reached a serious closing on the floor. As for the way she would really feel if there have been no followers current in Tokyo – which appears a extremely believable situation – Osaka mentioned “I’ve by no means performed an Olympic occasion, so it isn’t like I might have something to match it to. “I might really feel, after all, positively a bit unhappy, however on the finish of the day, it is an honour to play within the Olympics within the first place and if that is what retains individuals wholesome, then I am up for it.” Osaka’s issues in regards to the Olympics had been echoed in Rome by different main gamers, prompting hypothesis that there may very well be a low turn-out fee within the tennis occasion. The massive names on this year-round sport will discover it much less traumatic to skip Tokyo than a Greco-Roman wrestler, say, for whom the Video games would symbolize the perfect likelihood of reaching a large viewers. Certainly, the opposite high-profile Japanese participant – former US Open finalist Kei Nishikori – additionally expressed doubts. “I do not assume it is easy,” he mentioned, “particularly [with] what’s taking place proper now in Japan. It isn’t doing good. I believe they need to actually maintain [off from making decisions] proper now. “Should you assume solely about athletes, if you may make good bubble, possibly you are able to do it,” Nishikori added. “However there’s some threat too. What’s [going to] occur if there’s hundred circumstances within the Village or might be hundreds. The corona, it has been unfold very straightforward. So I’ll say similar as Naomi: it’s a must to talk about how one can play actually safely.” The same query was directed to Serena Williams, who is because of make her enjoying return this week in Rome after a four-month break. Requested on Monday whether or not she would go to Tokyo if she wasn’t allowed to take her daughter Alexis Olympia along with her, Williams replied “I have not spent 24 hours with out her, in order that sort of solutions the query itself. We’re finest mates. “I haven’t actually thought a lot about Tokyo,” Williams added, “as a result of it was imagined to be final yr and now it is this yr, after which there’s this pandemic and there’s a lot to consider. So I’ve actually been taking it in the future at a time, and I positively want to determine my subsequent strikes.” Djokovic impressed by Murray in coaching hit By Simon Briggs Novak Djokovic, the world No1, admitted to experiencing flashbacks on Monday after a apply session with the double Olympic champion Andy Murray at Rome’s picturesque Foro Italico. Born only a fortnight aside in 1987, these two had spent greater than a decade doing battle on the world’s most well-known courts. Till Murray’s hip blew up 4 years in the past and their trajectories diverged dramatically. Djokovic has since added one other six majors to his tally. Murray, then again, has gained solely 21 tour-level matches because the summer season of 2017. He’s nonetheless decided to reboot his profession, nonetheless, and Djokovic provided him some cautious encouragement on Monday. “I assumed he performed very properly on the court docket,” Djokovic mentioned. “He strikes properly, contemplating it’s clay which isn’t the perfect floor for his hips. However contemplating what he has been via currently, it looks as if he’s been feeling properly on the court docket. “I haven’t seen him shortly,” Djokovic added, “and it was nice to hit with him. We had a pleasant chat and some laughs. It introduced again the outdated instances once we spent lots of time on court docket collectively, whether or not it was coaching or enjoying in opposition to one another.” If Murray shouldn’t be collaborating within the Rome Masters this week, that’s as a result of he doesn’t really feel fairly prepared, having barely performed a aggressive match all season. It isn’t his metallic hip that’s accountable – or, not less than, not solely. He contracted Covid-19 in January after which picked up a mysterious groin damage on the eve of March’s Miami Open. Now, he intends to enter one of many lower-level ATP 250 occasions subsequent week, both in Geneva or Lyon, earlier than shifting on to Paris for the French Open. It isn’t but clear whether or not he should undergo qualifying at Roland Garros, or whether or not he will likely be granted a wild card into the primary draw. The organisers say they need to see him play earlier than making a choice. In Murray’s absence, Dan Evans has been the British No 1 since October 2019. Evans’s six clay-court wins during the last month will need to have boosted his confidence, however he was under his finest on Monday – and very grouchy – as he went down 6-3, 6-2 to American Taylor Fritz within the first spherical of Rome. Evans obliterated his racket after dropping 5 video games in a row to finish the primary set, and he directed a stream of invective in the direction of his help camp within the early levels of the second.