Paris – Kei Nishikori said Friday it would be “a shame and no fun” if his home Olympics takes place without spectators.
“I will be really happy to play on the court, but I’m really guessing right now it’s going to be really tough with spectators with this situation,” the 31-year-old said at the French Open on Friday following his third-round win over Henri Laaksonen.
“Without anyone on the court, just the team members, that’s not going to be fun for me, and you don’t feel like playing the Olympics in your home country.
“So that’s the only thing giving me a little bit of shame if there is no one watching. But we’ll see what they’re going to say.”
Tokyo organizers marked 50 days to go Thursday by insisting “100%” the games will go ahead.
“The biggest challenge will be how we can control and manage the flow of people,” said Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto.
“If an outbreak should happen during the games that amounts to a crisis or an emergency situation then I believe we must be prepared to have these games without any spectators.”
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has already said he would reconsider taking part in the Tokyo Olympics if spectators were banned from attending.
“I’m planning to play Olympic Games for now. As I heard, there’s going to be some crowd, local crowd from Japan only,” Djokovic said earlier this week.
“As I understand, 20%, 30% of the capacity. If they change something, if there’s not going to be any crowd, then I’ll consider if I want to go or not.”
Nishikori, meanwhile, reached the last 16 of the French Open for the seventh time when Swiss opponent Henri Laaksonen retired with a leg injury in their third-round clash.
Nishikori, ranked 49, had taken the first set 7-5 when the Swiss qualifier quit.
The Japanese star had needed more than eight hours and two five-setters to get to the third round.
On Friday, however, he was on court for just under 60 minutes. He will meet German sixth seed Alexander Zverev for a place in the quarterfinals.
A victory over Zverev on Sunday would give him his 100th Grand Slam match win.
Zverev has a 4-1 record over Nishikori including two wins on clay this year in Madrid and Rome in the build-up to the French Open.
It was a disappointing end to the tournament for 29-year-old Laaksonen who was playing in the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time after having come through qualifying.
The six matches had taken their toll.
“If I would say before the tournament that I reach third round, I would take it every time,” said the world No. 150.
“With an injury it’s always tricky. You fall into a vicious circle. You have one problem, then the next one comes.
“I was doing my best. This was the maximum now here.”
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