Coco Gauff enjoyed a day to remember on Thursday, as she is set to become the youngest Olympic tennis player since 2000, while the 17-year-old also starred at Wimbledon.

Gauff made her name as a 15-year-old prodigy at Wimbledon in 2019.

Two years on, Gauff returned to Centre Court for the first time since her defeat to eventual champion Simona Halep, and marked the occasion with a 6-4 6-3 victory over Elena Vesnina.

Her Wimbledon campaign is not the only thing Gauff will have on her mind, though, with the teenager having also secured a place in the United States' women's tennis team for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, which start later this month.

Gauff will become the youngest tennis player in a Games since Mario Ancic and Jelena Docki, aged 16 and 17 respectively, competed at Sydney 2000, while she will also be the second-youngest American Olympian on the court, after 16-year-old Jennfier Capriati, who took gold in Barcelona 29 years ago.

She is joined by Jennifer Brady, Jessica Pegula and Alison Riske in the singles – which is ranked based on the top four players from each country who have opted in  – with Sofia Kenin, Madison Keys and Serena Williams having declined the opportunity to feature, while Venus Williams, the most decorated Olympic tennis player in history, did not qualify.

Nicole Melichar and 2016 gold medalist Bethanie Mattek-Sands were the doubles-only picks.

As she proved again on Thursday, Gauff – who has two singles titles to her name on the WTA Tour – has little trouble in dealing with the big stage.

She needed just 70 minutes to defeat Vesnina and progress to round three at the All England Club, though she admitted her memories of her 2019 efforts at Wimbledon are not the best.

"It did feel a lot different. I honestly was more nervous coming into today's match," she said.

"I think the biggest thing is I don't really remember much from my Centre Court experience in 2019. I don't know, I felt like it was all a blur.

"But going in today I feel like a completely different player and person. It wasn't my best tennis today, but I think mentally I gave a good performance considering how nervous I was.

"I try not to put expectations on myself, at least only put the ones that I can control, and I know I can control how I act on the court and how I carry myself.

"What I will say is my goal I guess is more clear right now than it was in 2019. I think just my belief is a lot stronger now, the feeling that I can go far."

The delay to the Tokyo Olympics has been a source of frustration for countless athletes, but perhaps none more so than the Japanese stars so desperate to succeed in their home nation.

Uncertainty and confusion surrounding the Games has sadly reigned for the past year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

And yet, here we are in the month the action is set to begin and the show looks certain to go on.

No international spectators will be in attendance, but limited numbers of domestic fans are due to be allowed to watch the action.

So, who are the biggest names representing Japan the locals will hope to inspire to glory? Stats Perform has taken a look…

NAOMI OSAKA

There is no other place to begin than with one of the biggest names in the whole of sport, let alone tennis right now. Naomi Osaka is a superstar with a huge global following, particularly in Japan and America. Only 23 and with four grand slams to her name, there is seemingly no limit to the level she can reach. Osaka is the defending US and Australian Open champion, but withdrew after the first round of the French Open and opted not to play at Wimbledon after revealing a long-endured battle with depression. The issue came to the fore when Osaka had announced she would not take part in media conferences in Paris to protect her mental health, starting a wider conversation over how athletes are treated. 

 

HIDEKI MATSUYAMA

So often a nearly man, 2021 has already been a breakthrough year for the gifted Hideki Matsuyama. There were seven top-10 finishes in major tournaments before finally the 29-year-old took top billing to win the Masters at Augusta back in April. In doing so he became the first Japanese man to win a major tournament (Hinako Shibuno and Chako Higuchi have both won majors in the women's game). Olympic gold is certainly not out of the question for one of the most gifted players in golf.

KIYUNA RYO

Karate is making its Olympics debut and so is one of its greatest ever competitors in the form of Kiyuna Ryo. In 2019, Ryo won every competition he entered - including a third Asian championship - while the pandemic denied him a shot at a record fourth straight WKF world championship in June 2020. It will take a huge effort to stop Ryo, who will be 31 by the time the Games begin, standing atop the podium.

UTA ABE

The younger sibling of two-time world champion Hifumi Abe – himself off to Tokyo 2020 – judoka Uta Abe represents a serious medal hope for Japan. A two-time world champion herself in the -52kg category, she will aim to become an Olympic champion on July 25 – the same day her brother will aim to wear gold in the men's -66kg category. There is no shortage of judo talent in Japan, with Shohei Ono aiming to defend the -73kg gold he won at Rio 2016.

KENTO MOMOTA 

The past 18 months have been challenging for everyone but especially for Kento Momota. In January 2020, the badminton star was involved in a road accident that claimed the life of his driver, while he required surgery on his eye socket. A combination of the injury, the global pandemic and a positive test for coronavirus kept Momota off the court for 14 months. But the two-time world champion – who won an astounding 11 titles as recently as 2019 – will be desperate to complete a fairytale ending with gold in Tokyo.

 

DAIYA SETO

One of Japan's greatest hopes in the pool, Daiya Seto already has an Olympic medal in the form of a bronze from Rio four years ago in the 400 metre individual medley. With four gold medals in long course world championships and as many at the Asian Games, there are plenty of high hopes for Seto.

LeBron James' days of representing his country in the Olympics likely are finished. 

Jerry Colangelo, long-time USA Basketball managing director, told ESPN he does not expect the Los Angeles Lakers star to compete in the Games again. 

James opted out of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics after skipping Rio five years ago. 

He will be 39-years-old for the next Summer Games in Paris, and Colangelo said he does not expect the NBA legend to return to international duty. 

"You know, Father Time takes its toll," Colangelo told ESPN on Wednesday. "If you're a human being, your body is built to go so long depending on what your sport is, and then it's a downhill situation.

"LeBron made choices these last couple of Olympics not to participate because he's got a lot of things going on in his life.

"So he put in his time, he made a contribution that is appreciated, but I think his time is over."

James previously helped Team USA to gold medals in the London and Beijing Olympics and bronze in Athens. 

With James and numerous other NBA stars skipping the Games this summer, head coach Gregg Popovich's 12-player squad for Tokyo will feature only three returning Olympians: Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Kevin Love. 

 

Comaneci, Korbut, Biles, Scherbo. Those names are as engrained into Olympic legend as Bolt, Beamon, Griffith-Joyner and Owens.

Gymnastics might pass under many radars outside Games time, but television chiefs have it down as a ratings-winning banker.

There is no other sport that combines quite the same level of athleticism, artistry and acrobatic magnificence, and pairs those factors with a stack of glamour and more than a hint of danger.

Most viewers of the Olympics will know how it feels to casually sprint 100 metres or swim a length or two, but the parallel bars, the pommel horse and the beam were typically last experienced as dreaded apparatus hauled out of school sports equipment vaults.

Anybody who avoided making a muggins of themselves deserved immediate respect, with these implements of humiliation ripe for dishing out a torturing.

On the Olympic stage, we see the human species at its most agile, yet vulnerable too, and that is why gymnastics has been the most viewed sport in the Games on American networks for many years.

Here, Stats Perform looks at three of the great Olympic gymnasts of the last 50 years, and considers who might emerge as a star at the Ariake venue in Tokyo this year.


GAMES GREATS

Nadia Comaneci: The Perfect 10

When Romanian Comaneci scored the first 'Perfect 10' in Olympic history at the Montreal Games of 1976, famously even the scoreboards were unprepared for her fabulous feat. They showed 1.00, with the Omega technology not built to display top marks. Comaneci was 14 years old, and she had made history on the uneven bars in the team competition. It was incredibly just the start of a run of 10s from Comaneci, who produced six more during her heady time in Canada, winning gold medals in the all-around event, the uneven bars and the balance beam.

 

Olga Korbut: Flipping brilliant

The young Comaneci would have watched Korbut dazzle at the 1972 Munich Olympics, where the 17-year-old brought daring new routines to the Games stage. Her backflip to catch on the uneven bars drew gasps from the crowd and media alike. Television footage from the time shows Korbut produce her mesmerising routine, with one commentator questioning: "Has that been done before by a girl?". His colleague responds: "Never, not by any human I know of!"

The Korbut flip was born, a backward somersault on the beam followed, and millions across the globe watched in astonishment at her audacity and execution. The teenager from the Soviet Union won gold medals in the team, floor and balance beam disciplines, pushing gymnastics to new heights.

Vitaly Scherbo: Barcelona bounty

It has often been the case that women gymnasts have attracted more admiration than the men, but in 1992 it was Scherbo who stole the show. The 20-year-old Belarusian was a colossus, winning six gold medals for the Unified Team of former Soviet states with a revelatory exhibition of physical strength, craft and control.

Scherbo became champion at the parallel bars, vault, rings, pommel horse, team event and the all-around event. His haul of golds has only ever been surpassed in a single Olympics by swimmers: Michael Phelps (eight gold medals at Beijing 2008) and Mark Spitz (seven golds at Munich).


TOKYO CALLING

Simone Biles: Great already, and now back for more

What does Biles have in store for a Tokyo encore to her spectacular Rio performance? It was well known before the 2016 Olympics was that Biles was rather special, and the American delivered on the biggest stage, with four gold medals and a solitary bronze, becoming the first quadruple Olympic gymnastic champion since 1984 when the great Romanian Ecaterina Szabo also achieved success on that scale. Biles, a formidable character and sensational competitor, is stretching the limits of athletic achievement every time she competes, taking her beloved sport to new audiences and inspiring generations of youngsters to try the sport.

Now 24 years old, Biles appears to be in great shape for more success in Japan, but watch out for her team-mate Suni Lee too. The 18-year-old outscored Biles on day two of the US Olympic trials

Tang Xijing: China's great hope

Could Chinese teenager Tang be in the picture to deny Biles the all-around title in Tokyo? The 18-year-old took a surprise silver behind Biles at the 2019 World Championship, and it remains to be seen whether that was a one-off or if she can limit the errors that have at times impeded her success and strike again for a medal.

She seems sure to be somewhere in the frame, but the Olympics demands perfection or at least somewhere close to it. Tang has abundant talent, and how she competes against the world's best again, after being limited lately to domestic competition, will be one of many matters of intrigue under the spotlight in the Ariake gymnastics hall.

Pedri and Unai Simon were among a group of six Spain stars at Euro 2020 who received an Olympic Games call-up on Tuesday.

Spain Under-21 head coach Luis de la Fuente, who will take charge of the Olympic team in Tokyo, announced a 22-man list that must be trimmed to 18 for the tournament.

Teenage Barcelona midfielder Pedri has been one of the standout figures in Luis Enrique's Spain team at the European Championship, while Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Simon got away with a huge mistake in the last-16 game against Croatia, when he conceded an own goal before Spain roared back to earn a 5-3 win.

He carelessly failed to deal with Pedri's back pass and the ball rolled into the net.

They were joined on De la Fuente's squad list by senior Spain colleagues Eric Garcia, Pau Torres, Dani Olmo and Mikel Oyarzabal.

As expected, there was no place for veteran Sergio Ramos, who wanted to represent Spain at both Euro 2020 and the Olympics this year but was called up for neither tournament.

Ramos, who is leaving Real Madrid after 16 years, endured an injury-plagued 2020-21 season.

 

Spain, who were gold medallists in men's football at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, also included Real Madrid duo Dani Ceballos and Marco Asensio, Valencia's Carlos Soler, Sevilla's Bryan Gil and Mikel Merino of Real Sociedad in a strong line-up.

Monday's victory over Croatia at Euro 2020 has carried Spain through to a quarter-final against Switzerland, to be played in St Petersburg on Friday.

Should Spain go all the way to the final, they will contest the showpiece at Wembley on July 11. 

The Olympic football competition begins before the Games is officially declared open, with Spain due to play Egypt at the Sapporo Dome in their opening Group C game on July 22, a day ahead of the opening ceremony.

De la Fuente said he had no doubts about selecting Simon, despite his error at the Euros.

"I know Unai Simon. I know of his strength and integrity," De la Fuente said. "Yesterday he had an exceptional reaction after a difficult moment."


Provisional Spain squad for Tokyo Olympics: Alvaro Fernandez (Huesca), Unai Simon (Athletic Bilbao)), Alex Domínguez (Las Palmas); Mingueza (Barcelona), Jesus Vallejo (Granada), Eric García (Barcelona), Pau Torres (Villarreal), Oscar Gil (Espanyol), Juan Miranda (Real Betis); Marc Cucurella (Getafe), Jon Moncayola (Osasuna), Martin Zubimendi (Real Sociedad), Dani Ceballos (Real Madrid), Mikel Merino (Real Sociedad), Carlos Soler (Valencia), Pedri (Barcelona); Bryan Gil (Sevilla), Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Dani Olmo (RB Leipzig), Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad, Rafa Mir (Wolves), Javi Puado (Espanyol).

Usain Bolt charged into history in Beijing, Bob Beamon took one giant leap for mankind in Mexico City, and Florence Griffith-Joyner stunned millions with her Seoul sprint spectacular.

World records in track and field are always special achievements, but athletes take it to the next level when they produce such performances on the Olympic stage, with hundreds of millions of eyes watching across the globe.

At the Tokyo 2020 Games, expect records to tumble, but others will be far from easy to shift from the record books.

Here, Stats Perform assesses five Olympic records that look set to survive the Tokyo test, and five that look distinctly vulnerable.

FIVE TO SURVIVE

Men's 200 metres: USAIN BOLT, 19.30 seconds (Beijing Olympics, 2008)

As well as this 200m mark, the likelihood is that Bolt's 100m Games record of 9.63 from the London Olympics will be untouchable too. That is despite his Olympic bests being narrowly outside the world records he owns for both sprints (9.58 and 19.19). The 200m Olympic record certainly looks locked in to remain intact after Tokyo, with nobody threatening to go remotely close this season, at the time of writing in late June. Just like when he set Olympic high watermarks in the Bird's Nest Stadium – running what were then world records in the 100m and 200m – Bolt remains streets ahead of the rest.

Men's long jump: BOB BEAMON, 8.90 metres (Mexico City, 1968)

The most famous of all athletics records, Beamon leapt into sporting legend in 1968 with the jump that toppled the previous world record by an astonishing 55 centimetres. Before that, in 33 years the record had only been nudged on by 22 centimetres. Beamon's world record has gone now, broken by Mike Powell who cleared 8.95m at the 1991 World Championship, but he still owns the second longest leap and the Olympic record. This is no golden age for long-jumping, and it would send tremors through the sporting world if Beamon's mark could be beaten.

Women's 200m: FLORENCE GRIFFITH-JOYNER, 21.34 seconds (Seoul, 1988)

American Griffith-Joyner brought her unique brand of glamour to the world stage and had eyes popping with her staggering summer of success 33 years ago. She wiped an incredible 0.27 seconds off the 100m world record when clocking 10.49secs at the US Olympic trials, and at the Games in Seoul she doubled up, setting a 200m global best with a run of 21.56s in the semi-finals before going even quicker still in the final.

Women's 800m: NADEZHDA OLIZARENKO, one minute 53.43 seconds (Moscow, 1980)

This came in a world-record run, as Olizarenko led a popular Soviet Union 1-2-3 in the two-lap dash. The current world record, just 0.15secs quicker than Olizarenko's time, was set three years later. Olizarenko died in 2017, but her Olympic record looks set to stay in the history books for years to come, particularly given Caster Semenya will be absent in Tokyo.

Women's heptathlon: JACKIE JOYNER-KERSEE, 7,291 points (Seoul, 1988)

American all-rounder Joyner-Kersee enjoyed staggering success in the 1980s as she pushed the standards of the heptathlon to still-unprecedented levels. Her world-record total from Seoul has looked unbeatable ever since, given no other athlete has come within 250 points. Joyner-Kersee also won gold in the long jump at the same 1988 Olympics with a Games record of 7.40m that also remains to this day and is likely to continue standing the test of time for many years to come.

 

FIVE TO FALL

Men's 1,500m: NOAH NGENY, 3:32.07 (Sydney, 2000)

This mark looks ripe to be broken, given the men's world record is 3:26:00, yet it continues to stand to this day. In 2019, the last normal year for athletics before the pandemic proved so disruptive, this Olympic best was bettered 31 times over the season. But the 1,500m is not a sprint and tactical racing is a familiar slowing factor over middle distance in the Olympics, with all eyes on the prize rather than the clock. An outright race, without any early teasing and slow-going, could see this record crushed. The men's 1,500m record last fell at the 1960 Rome Olympics, to Herb Elliott (3:35.6), and it feels ripe to go again.

Men's pole vault: THIAGO BRAZ, 6.03m (Rio, 2016)

Braz was a highly popular winner in his native Brazil five years ago, setting a Games record to boot. It would be a major shock if anyone but Armand Duplantis carried off the gold this year, with the American-born Swedish athlete the clear class act in the field. He had a 6.10m clearance in Hengelo in early June, and last year he went over 6.18m indoors. Unless he buckles under the pressure of the Olympics, Duplantis looks good to walk away with gold and a Games record.

Men's javelin: ANDREAS THORKILDSEN, 90.57m (Beijing, 2008)

Possibly the likeliest of all the athletics records to be beaten, Thorkildsen's gold-winning effort from the Bird's Nest is surely about to be overtaken. Germany's Johannes Vetter had a throw of 96.29m in May, when he hurled the javelin over 90 metres five times in one six-throw competition. The odd one out in that supreme performance was a world-class 87.27, confirming Vetter as the man to beat.

Women's 100m: FLORENCE GRIFFITH-JOYNER, 10.62 seconds (Seoul, 1988)

Although 'Flo-Jo' clocked 10.54s in the 1988 Olympic final, that was a wind-assisted run and is not considered a Games record. Which means it is this 10.62 – set, stupendously, in the heats – that is the target. For years it has looked out of reach, but then Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce ran 10.63 in Kingston in June, and suddenly it no longer appears quite so insurmountable. Griffith-Joyner died in 1998 after an epileptic seizure, and over 20 years later her records are still being chased by the sprint elite.

Women's triple jump: FRANCOISE MBANGO ETONE, 15.39m (Beijing, 2008)

Cameroonian athlete Etone won gold in Athens and four years later in Beijing, setting the current Olympic record in the Chinese capital. That mark is the fourth furthest achieved in history by a woman; however, Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela has two of the top three triple jumps on that list, and she will be a red-hot favourite for the gold medal. The 25-year-old had a 15.43m effort in May, illustrating she is in shape for a record tilt.

Roger Federer will not make a final decision on whether he will play at the Olympic Games in Tokyo until after Wimbledon.

An Olympic gold medal is the one major honour to have eluded Federer during his decorated singles career.

The 20-time grand slam champion won gold in doubles alongside Stan Wawrinka in 2008 but was beaten by Andy Murray in the singles final in 2012 and pulled out of the tournament in 2016 to recover from a knee injury.

Rafael Nadal will not feature in Tokyo, having decided to skip Wimbledon and the Olympics to help him recuperate after the clay-court season.

Federer has grown significantly more selective over his schedule in the latter stages of his career as he has sought to look after his body.

Asked about his participation at the delayed Games, which begin next month, Federer told a media conference: "It's still my intention to go to the Olympic Games.

"But we will reassess everything after Wimbledon. It is my goal to play as much tournaments as possible. But it really depends on results and how the body is feeling.

"I wish I could tell you more. At the moment things are not as simple as in the past. With age, we have to be more selective, I can't play it all."

Federer starts his campaign for a ninth Wimbledon title when he faces Adrian Mannarino on Tuesday.

The Swiss has won all six of his meetings with Mannarino, including matches at Wimbledon in 2011 and 2018.

Mo Farah will not be taking part in the men's 10,000 metre race at the Tokyo Olympics, after the four-time gold medalist failed to hit the qualifying time.

Farah, who won gold in the 10,000m and 5,000m races at both the 2012 and 2016 Games, needed to beat a time of 27 minutes 28 seconds to qualify.

Despite winning the 10,000m race on day one of the British Championships, Farah clocked a time of 27:47:04 – a stadium record at Manchester Regional Arena but not enough for Olympic qualification.

Farah had been struggling with an ankle injury that hindered his attempts in an Olympic trial in Birmingham earlier this month, though it had reportedly cleared up ahead of the Manchester event.

"I have had a wonderful career," he said when asked if it could mark the end of his track career.

"It is a tough one – if I can't compete with the best, I am not going there to just finish a final. It wasn't good enough tonight.

 

"It was quite windy. I tried to push and push. I knew I was on my own.

"It was amazing to have a crowd once more. That's all you can do as a human being: you give it your all.

"I've been lucky enough to have had the long career I've had. I'm very grateful but that's all I had today."

Farah has been concentrating on road racing for the past three years, though had hoped to return to the track for the Olympics.

James Harden will not compete for the United States at the Olympic Games in Tokyo as he recovers from a hamstring injury, according to USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo.

Harden reportedly committed to playing for Team USA at next month's Tokyo Games after the Brooklyn Nets lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round of the NBA playoffs.

But Colangelo told ESPN on Wednesday that Harden – who endured an injury-hit 2020-21 campaign – has withdrawn, instead focusing on his recovery over the offseason.

A hamstring injury limited Harden to 36 regular-season games for the Nets following his blockbuster trade from the Houston Rockets, before he played nine times in the playoffs, scoring an underwhelming 20.2 points per game.

Harden went to London in 2012 after his final season as a bench scorer for the Oklahoma City Thunder but not to Brazil four years later having established himself in Houston.

Defending champions Team USA are yet to announce their roster for the Olympics, but Gregg Popovich's team is currently headlined by Nets superstar Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green, Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers, Washington Wizards All-Star Bradley Beal and the Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum.

Team USA are scheduled to open their gold medal bid against France on July 25 amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

"Life is about relationships, and we've got relationships with all these players over the years," Colangelo told ESPN. "It's been a process, and it hasn't been easy."

Colangelo added: "Versatility and athleticism are trademarks of this group.

"Our staff feels this will be a very competitive group and we'll have shooting that we've been lacking. We're going to go into camp feeling confident we're going to perform well."

James Harden has followed Brooklyn Nets team-mate Kevin Durant in committing to play for Team USA at the Tokyo Games, according to reports.

The United States team is taking shape as they prepare to defend their gold medal at the delayed 2021 Olympics.

Reports at the weekend detailed the expectation Durant would join the team after the Nets exited the NBA playoffs.

Durant was on the victorious USA teams in 2012 and 2016 and this year averaged 26.9 points per game in the regular season and 34.3 in the postseason – the 25th-best mark of all time.

The 2014 MVP will not be the only Brooklyn player on the Olympic team, according to The Athletic.

A hamstring injury limited Harden to 36 regular season games for the Nets following his trade from the Houston Rockets, before he played nine times in the playoffs, scoring an underwhelming 20.2 points per game.

Harden went to London in 2012 after his final season as a bench scorer for the Oklahoma City Thunder but not to Brazil four years later having established himself in Houston.

 

Golden State Warriors great Stephen Curry was involved on neither occasion – although he won the World Cup in 2010 and 2014 – and will not make his Olympic bow this year either, the report added.

Curry almost single-handedly carried the undermanned Warriors to the brink of the playoffs this year, taking the NBA scoring title with 32.0 points per game.

Donovan Mitchell, who struggled with an injury as the Utah Jazz lost to the Los Angeles Clippers, has also declined an invite, ESPN revealed.

Bam Adebayo, the Miami Heat center, will join the 12-man roster, though, aiming to bounce back from a playoff sweep at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks in which he scored just nine points on four-of-15 shooting in Game 1.

As they aspire to achieve loftier goals at sports’ ultimate event, the nation’s latest qualifiers for the Olympic Games and sporting associations they represent, have expressed gratitude to the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) for the assistance afforded in attaining their Tokyo goal.

The Tokyo Olympics could take place with no spectators in attendance if the Japanese capital is placed into another state of emergency, the nation's prime minister Yoshihide Suga has said.

Japan is moving ahead with plans to host the Games, which were postponed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, despite strong public opposition and warnings from health officials that crowds could lead to increased infection rates.

International fans are already banned from attending, with a decision on domestic spectators due to be taken on Monday.

On Sunday, the state of emergency that had been imposed on Tokyo and eight other prefectures was lifted, though looser restrictions remain in place until July 11.

Speaking to reporters at a vaccination centre, Suga said: "In the event a state of emergency was declared then we can't rule out not having spectators.

"I think that's obvious from the standpoint of making safety and security our utmost priority."

There were 376 new positive tests for COVID-19 reported in Tokyo on Sunday, an increase on the 304 a week prior. The seven-day average in the capital also rose to 388 from 384.1.

Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto and Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto are due to hold a news conference later on Monday after the culmination of talks surrounding domestic fans.

Britain's biggest hope for Wimbledon glory believes All England Club absentee Naomi Osaka deserves admiration for her impact on and off the court this year.

Johanna Konta beat Osaka three times before the Japanese player went on a stratospheric rise, and she still holds that 3-0 record, given the pair have surprisingly gone four years without facing each other on tour.

While Konta will bid to become a first British champion in the Wimbledon women's singles since 1977 winner Virginia Wade, superstar Osaka has elected to skip the grand slam which begins next Monday, just weeks after withdrawing from the French Open.

Osaka is the reigning US Open and Australian Open champion, but she abandoned her Roland Garros campaign on May 31 after a first-round win and revealed a long-endured battle with depression.

She made that announcement a day after the grand slams warned she could be thrown out of their tournaments for repeatedly skipping mandatory post-match media duties, with Osaka receiving messages of support from the likes of Serena and Venus Williams and Billie Jean King.

The 23-year-old had already declared she would not take part in media conferences during her stay in Paris for the sake of her mental health, questioning the set-up of such interviews and why sporting bodies insist stars must always take part. She faced criticism from some quarters but has started a wider, valuable conversation about how athletes are treated.

Osaka, who last year was ranked by Forbes as the highest-paid female athlete in world sport, has been a powerful and uncompromising voice on race and gender inequality issues, with Konta impressed by the impact such a young player is having.

"As a tennis player she's a four-time grand slam champion already, so she's an incredibly gifted, good tennis player and she is reaching the results that prove that as well," said Konta, a Jaguar ambassador.

"I think for the game, she'll probably be around and be successful for quite some time to come.

"She has a big passion for social movements and current social matters and she feels empowered by using her voice in ways she feels is beneficial to things that she believes in and that's her prerogative to do so.

"And I think that as long as people stay authentic to themselves and what they believe in, I think they make the biggest positive impact they can, and that is the rule of thumb that she's following.

"Obviously a lot of people will find a lot of solace in someone as successful as her talking about things that maybe they experience but don't have the sort of social platform or, I guess, strength of voice to be able to put it in the public domain. Kudos to her for being true to herself."

Konta's wins over Osaka came at the second-round stage of the 2015 US Open, the same round at the 2017 Australia Open, and later in 2017 in Stuttgart.

Their next meeting could come at the Tokyo Olympics, with both planning to take part, Osaka hoping to strike what would be a famous gold for Japan.

The best tennis of Konta's 2021 season so far saw her land a grass-court title at the Nottingham Open this month, becoming the first British woman to win a WTA singles tournament on home soil since Sue Barker did so at the Daihatsu Challenge event in Brighton in 1981.

It gave Konta a first trophy since winning the Miami Open in 2017 and a fourth career title, with the former world number four hitting her stride in timely fashion ahead of a Wimbledon tilt.

For any British player at Wimbledon, attention can be intense, but that is particularly the case for the few who have enjoyed success on a scale Konta has experienced, reaching the semi-finals in 2017 and getting through to the quarters two years ago, the last time the tournament was held.

She has found ways to alleviate the pressure from her own perspective, explaining how she took the heat out of situations so successfully in previous championships.

"Playing in 2017 and getting to the semis there, I didn't feel too overwhelmed by attention," Konta, 30, said in an interview with Stats Perform.

"I think attention can only be too overwhelming if you put yourself in the position where you are looking for it and acknowledging it.

"For me, I would wake up, have breakfast, get in my own car and drive myself to the site, warm up and play my match and do the media and all that, then I'd get in my car and come home, have dinner, watch a series or watch a film, but I wasn't spending my time on social media, I wasn't watching the news, I wasn't really doing too much.

"The only time I noticed that things were happening was when I needed to pop to the supermarket to get some food, and all the newspapers that were there had my face on them, so that was an interesting one."


:: Johanna Konta is a Jaguar ambassador. Jaguar is the Official Car of The Championships, Wimbledon. To discover Jaguar’s unmatched experiences visit jaguar.co.uk/Wimbledon

Kevin Durant is expected to commit to playing for the United States at the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo, reports said on Sunday. 

A short off-season means a number of NBA stars may steer away from representing the USA in Japan, but Durant appears set to make himself available.

Durant, who helped his country to gold medals at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, will join Bradley Beal, Devin Booker, Damian Lillard, Jayson Tatum and Draymond Green in the squad, according to The Athletic.

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James ruled himself out of competing at the Olympics earlier this month, saying he would spend time promoting his new movie 'Space Jam: A New Legacy', which is scheduled to open in July.

Durant, 32, turned in the most productive Game 7 performance in NBA playoffs history on Saturday, but it was not enough to get the Brooklyn Nets through against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Brooklyn's 115-111 overtime loss in the Eastern Conference semi-finals decider saw the exhausted Nets give everything they had before the visitors prevailed in the end.

Durant scored a Game 7 record of 48 points but could not do it all as a Brooklyn team missing the injured Kyrie Irving did not have enough weapons in the end.

Danusia Francis got a good warm-up for the Summer Olympic Games this weekend while competing for Xelska in Spain's Liga Iberdrola in the city of Gironella.

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