I once got into a debate on the value of the Olympics after Dominic Thiem skipped them to play in a 250 tournament, but what I found is many fans felt the same way and that the Olympics weren’t a big deal for players. I think they should be held in some of the highest regard just under Slams. You really only get a few chances to win a gold in your entire career which makes them that much more special. plus you are doing it for your country. It seems like the branding alone would make it a must-attend event and that not without a good reason could damage your brand. Passing it up to play a 250 for a 100k champion prize or whatever it was at the time never made sense to me.
For me, I think it’s every bit on par with a slam if not viewed as slightly better just for the rareness of chances you have to take home a gold with it only being available every 4 years. Most of the best players in the world are typically playing in it this century (Rio aside for health reasons) and you represent your country in an event with all the best athletes in the world that only comes around every 4 years. How is that not of extreme value on the resume for a career with what it represents?
Even if you play 20+ years like Fed you might only get 4 or 5 chances at gold and probably only a couple chances when you are actually in your prime for most. I think there was pressure on him to finally win a singles one and cap off the golden slam on his resume and he couldn’t so I do think it goes down as a strike on an otherwise brilliant career. It’s certainly in my opinion way better than the Masters or even a Tour Final I have heard fans say they would take over it think for sure.
People can talk about money or lack thereof but I wonder how many more endorsement deals Agassi got just for showing up much less from winning that gold medal on home soil. Look at these NBA players worth 200+ million that still show up, it’s hugely important just for their brand and they aren’t even competing on an individual basis. Anyone tying to compile resumes and legacies to compare to each other. Olympics is a big one and a pretty obvious differentiator that’s rare with limited opportunities.
I think people really undervalue it personally. For the simple fact alone Novak and Federer do not have an Olympic Gold on the resume and have played it multiple times. I think it’s something to add to the legacy and in 15+ years when people are reading the resumes about this time on the wiki page and educating themselves trying to put the big 3’s careers in context, they will see the Gold Metal displayed prominently on the Wiki page of Nadal and see that the Gold Metal winners include a Hall of Famers like Agassi, Kafelnikov, Nadal and Murray(2) the last 25 years accounting for all but one.
I think the chance of winning that with the world watching for the brand, the legacy etc has far more value than playing in a masters in Cincy or Washington. If you are going to skip anything I think it’s worth giving up that money and points and focusing on the Olympics as always seems to be the debate.