|For the first time in history the famous all-white policy at The All England Club will be overthrown for the Olympics and athletes will be free to wear their national colours. The Olympic tennis events will be organised jointly by the ITF, the IOC and the All England Club. Both the men’s and women’s singles and doubles events will be a part of the 2012 ATP World Tour and the 2012 WTA and so will influence the points and rankings.|
The tennis competition at the Olympic Games involves single-elimination tournaments for the men’s and women’s singles and doubles events. All matches are the best-of-three sets with the exception of the men’s Singles final, which is the best of five sets. The tie-break will operate in every set except the fifth set in the men’s Singles final and the third set in the other matches (except Mixed Doubles) when an advantage set shall be played. In the Mixed Doubles the third set shall be played as a match tie-break (10 points).
|Seedings for the competition are determined by world rankings. In all events, the semi-final winners play to decide the gold and silver medals, and the semi-final losers play for bronze.(The play-off for bronze was introduced at the ’96 Atlanta Games.)|
Each country is limited to a total of 12 athletes – six men and six women across all events, which includes a maximum of four players in each Singles and two teams in each Doubles event. From the competitors already entered into the Singles or Doubles, a maximum of two Mixed Doubles teams from any country may compete in the Mixed Doubles event.
For the singles competitions (draw of 64), the top 56 in the world rankings on 11 June 2012 of the WTA and ATP tours will qualify for the Olympics. However, entry is limited to four players from a country, which means that players who qualify from countries with four higher-ranked players already participating will not participate, and players outside of the top 56 from countries with less than four players already participating will qualify.
A player will only participate if she or he has made themselves available to be drafted to represent their country in Davis Cup or Fed Cup for two of the following years; 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 with one of the years being either 2011 or 2012. Of the other eight wildcard slots, six of the slots will be determined by the ITF’s Olympic Committee, taking into account ranking and spread of nations represented, while the final two slots will be awarded by the IOC to players from small nations.
In the doubles competitions (draw of 32), twenty four teams will automatically qualify as per the rankings on 11 June 2012, subject to a maximum of two teams per nation. Players in the top ten of the doubles rankings can reserve a place, provided they have a partner to compete with. The remaining eight teams will be decided by the ITF’s Olympic Committee.
Entries for the mixed doubles (draw of 16) will be confirmed at the Games.
FACTS & FIGURES
|Tennis appeared on the Olympic program in Athens 1896 and remained until Paris 1924. Due to difficulties in solving the amateur-professional divide, the sport disappeared until Seoul 1988.|
|Edwin Flack was Australia’s first Olympic tennis player; competing at the 1896 Olympics. He and his partner came third by making it to the semis in the doubles. He is best known though for being Australia’s first ever Olympic gold medalist at the same Games, winning gold in both the 800m and 1500m athletics.|
|Steffi Graf crowned her Grand Slam year in 1988 by winning the gold medal in Seoul.|
|On gold medals, Venus Williams is the most successful tennis Olympian since 1988 having won 3 – singles (2000) and doubles (2000 & 2008) and the only woman to win both the singles and doubles at the same Games – Sydney 2000.|
|At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Russia swept the women’s singles medals – Elena Dementieva (Gold), Dinara Safina (Silver) and Vera Zvonareva (Bronze).|
|Nicolas Massu from Chile holds the record for being the only man to have won both the singles and doubles gold medals – Athens 2004.|
Arantxa Sánchez Vicario is the most decorated Olympic player since 1988 with a total of four medals. In 1992 at Barcelona – singles bronze & doubles silver; and in 1996, Atlanta – singles silver & doubles bronze.
The USA leads the overall medal tally with seventeen (17) since 1988. (10 gold, 2 silver, 5 bronze). The USA women’s doubles pairings have dominated that event since 1988 with 5 gold from six Olympics.
Since its return as an Olympic sport, tennis has provided Australia with one gold, one silver and three bronze medals. The gold and silver medals were won by ‘The Woodies’ (Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge) in the men’s doubles at Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 respectively. Elizabeth Smylie and Wendy Turnbull won bronze in the women’s doubles at Seoul 1988 and Rachel McQuillan with Nicole Bradtke (then Provis) did likewise at Barcelona 1992. At Athens 2004, Alicia Molik won Australia’s first individual tennis medal, a bronze in the women’s singles.
|Australia will be represented at London 2012 by Samantha Stosur (singles & doubles), Bernard Tomic (singles), Lleyton Hewitt (singles), Jarmila Gajdosova (doubles), Anastasia Rodionova (doubles) and Casey Dellacqua.(doubles with Stosur)|
Official site http://www.london2012.com/tennis/
Olympic Champions since 1988