LONDON, Great Britain - Francesca Schiavone has already struck gold in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, winning her seventh career title in the year's first clay event at the Rio Open back in February. Despite dipping out of the Top 100, the former French Open champion was still expected to return to Brazil for the Olympic Games with a wildcard typically reserved for Grand Slam champions.
However, earlier today the Italian announced via her Facebook page that she won't be wearing the Azzurri in Rio this year, deciding instead to give up the wildcard.
Here's Schiavone's statement, translated to English:
"Here at Wimbledon I have received notice of the wild card for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. It is news that has made me happy. However, I made a decision not to accept it because at this stage of my life, with the important decisions that are in front of me about the development of my career, I need to focus and prioritize my personal projects. This is why I won't be in Rio. A choice that cost me but I'm proud to have worn the blue jersey in three editions of the Games. In August I will be in front of the television to cheer on all the Azzurri."
The WTA veteran has been a fixture at the Olympics for the past 12 years, competing in the past three editions of the Games. Her best result came in the form of a run to the quarterfinals in Athens back in 2004. In the 2008 Games in Beijing she reached the third round while in 2012, when the Olympic tennis event was held at the All England Club, she made the second round.
Schiavone's decision to give up her wildcard means that another spot has opened up for a player seeking to head to Brazil later this summer. In the meantime, click here to find out who has already qualified for Rio 2016.