Roger Federer as well as Belinda Bencic’s decisions to pull out of the Rio Olympics 2016 had left the Swiss Olympic tennis team in the lurch. After days of speculation and frantic search for a quick replacement, Switzerland has opted not to play in the mixed doubles competition at Rio.
In an official statement released on Saturday evening, Swiss Tennis has announced that there will be only three players heading to Rio – the women’s doubles World No. 1 Martina Hingis, the women’s singles World No. 15 Timea Bacsinszky and men‘s singles World No. 5 Stan Wawrinka. By mutual agreement with the players, they have chosen to launch the strongest women’s doubles combination of Hingis and Bacsinszky instead of the original two.
That will, unfortunately, deprive the Swiss No. 3 Viktorija Golubic a lucrative opportunity of playing in her maiden Olympic Games. She was scheduled to compete in the women’s doubles event alongside Bacsinszky whereas Hingis was supposed to have teamed up with the 19-year-old Bencic.
But the double whammy of Bencic and Federer’s withdrawals warranted a major reshuffling of the teams and in such circumstances, it was only logical to put the best team forward. No matter how much disappointing it is for the 23-year-old Golubic, the World No. 71 has accepted the decision sportingly.
“I would of course have loved this experience and it was great to have two Swiss women's doubles in Rio. But in these circumstances, it is logical that the strongest pair launched into the race,” she said.
The mixed doubles category was earlier being touted as Swiss tennis’ best chance to win the gold with Federer and Hingis joining forces after 15 long years. The blow of losing Federer meant Swiss Tennis could only look up to the two-time Grand Slam champion Wawrinka to fill in the former World No. 1’s shoes. But the 31-year-old, who will be a top four seed in singles, wanted to fully focus on his singles medal bid and was not ready to overburden himself with duty in doubles.
Hence, Switzerland withdrew from mixed doubles leaving the reigning French Open and US Open mixed doubles champion Martina Hingis bereft of a chance for double glory at Rio. It also guarantees the fact that there would not be any Swiss team in men’s doubles as well.