Alongside four Majors, the Olympic Games in Tokyo should have been the highlight of the tennis season, with almost every player from the top ready to seek the gold medal at Ariake Tennis Park between July 25 - August 2. Nonetheless, the coronavirus pandemic has been the leading factor in the world of tennis and the sport in general in 2020, forcing the ATP and WTA to postpone all the events until the second week of June, although it is very likely to cancel even more tournaments in the upcoming days.
As was expected, the leading sporting event of the year could not have taken place in Tokyo under these circumstances, with the International Olympic Committee deciding to postpone the Summer Games, as the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Tuesday.
In the last seven years, Japan has spent more than $10 billion to provide the best possible facilities and conditions for the world's leading athletes, ready to welcome them in 2021 despite the fact it will cause a lot of troubles in planning and organization of other notable events that should take place next year.
Thus, tennis players will have to change their schedule again for the upcoming season and make an empty spot in the calendar for Tokyo, ready to gather in Tokyo in the battle for the Olympic glory. Previously, the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games had unveiled the tournament schedule, with nine days of action between July 25 - August 2 and 'Super Saturday' and 'Golden Sunday' that should have highlighted the event.
In the opening six days, 12 hard courts at Ariake Tennis Park will host the early rounds in men's singles, men's doubles, women's singles, women's doubles and mixed doubles categories, with the men's singles third round and quarter-final clashes scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.
Reducing the schedule to the central courts, Friday should have staged men's singles semi-finals, men's doubles gold and bronze medal matches and mixed doubles semi-finals, shaping up the draws and carving the path towards the big days on Saturday and Sunday that were supposed to catch the attention of the entire tennis world.
Unlike in the previous eight Olympics in Seoul, Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Athens, Beijing, London and Rio de Janeiro, the men's singles gold medal match would have been played in the best-of-three format instead of regular best-of-five that delivered some incredible gold medal matches in the past, like in 1992, 2000, 2004 and 2016.