It’s almost time. The most prestigious sporting event in the world is here and with it, comes some exciting tennis. Despite being in the news for all the wrong reasons, there is still every reason to believe that the Olympiad produces some inspiring tennis, with every player giving in their all for the sake of his/her country. We at Essentially Sports Tennis take a look here at everything that happens or has happened throughout the years in Olympic Tennis.
Lawn Tennis had been a part of the Summer Olympic Games since its inaugural edition in 1896, till the 1924 Olympics. It appeared as a demonstration sport in 1968 and 1984, and became a full medal sport at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. It had been a ranking sport from the 2004 Athens Olympics till the 2012 London Olympics, but the withdrawal of the ranking system from this year’s Olympics has affected the participation of a number of players.
Lawn Tennis at the XXXI Olympiad will be held at the Olympic Tennis Center at the Barra Olympic Park, in Rio de Janeiro. The surface is hard courts, unlike the common clay courts found in South America. The Men’s and Women Singles, and their respective doubles events will be held between 6th August and 14th August. Andy Murray of the Great Britain and Serena Williams of the USA will head into the tournament as defending champions for the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles respectively.
The Singles Draw for both Men’s and Women’s event consists of 64 players with the Top 56 players in the world guaranteed participation. The Draw Size for the Men’s and Women’s Doubles Event is 32 and that for Mixed Doubles is just 16. The tournament follows a knockout system with the two unbeaten players/teams meeting in the finals. The two losing semifinalists will contest the bronze medal match.
All matches will be best of three sets with the exception of the Men’s Singles Finals which will be played in five sets.
In Bad Light
Many say that Olympic Tennis has lost its prestige among the players and continue to argue that a Medal should be valued at the same level as that of a Grand Slam. After all, apart from the Davis Cup, it is one of the biggest platforms where players can hold the honor to play for their country.
This year’s Olympics Games have been marred by controversies, with many players choosing to give it a miss. While players such as Swiss Legend Roger Federer have missed the tournament to recover from injury, many other players are unhappy with the removal of the ranking system that was in place in the previous editions. Top 20 Players such as Austrian Dominic Thiem and American John Isner stated that they’d rather play for ranking points on the ATP World Tour.
Men’s World No.7 Milos Raonic, Czech Player Berdych and Women’s World No.3 Simona Halep are notable names who cited concerns about the Zika Virus Epidemic in Brazil to be a cause for their withdrawal.
Then there are names such as Australian’s Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios who have affected their nation’s chances by having disputes with the Australian Olympics Committee.
But while quite a few big names miss out, tennis fans have a reason to cheer as some of the biggest names in modern tennis will be participating in the event.