Serena Williams, Sofia Kenin Lead Mad Dash to Seal US Women’s Spots at Tokyo Olympics

Published 03/05/2021, 1:00 AM EST
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 16, 2021 Serena Williams of the U.S. reacts during her quarter final match against Romania’s Simona Halep REUTERS/Loren Elliott


With the Summer Olympics in Tokyo set for a June kick-off, Team USA has a problem of plenty and may have some tough decisions to make when it comes to picking the women’s squad for the Games this year.

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A maximum of six players can be picked for both the men’s and women’s draws at the Olympics and all participating countries need to send their final list of entries by June 7, 2021, which is just a day after the French Open concludes.

Serena and Kenin are deemed automatic choices for US women’s squad for Tokyo Olympics

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Even the official WTA rankings, on the basis of which the players are picked for the Summer Games, does not make it any easier this time for Team USA to finalize its women’s squad.

With 11 players inside the Top-50 of the current WTA rankings, those entrusted with the job of shortlisting the final six, who will represent the Stars and Stripes at the quadrennial showpiece, might have to look at parameters beyond the current ranking places.

Serena Williams of The United States is congratulated by her sister and opponant Venus Williams of The United States following their ladies singles third round match on Day Five of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

It is learnt that as many as 64 women players are in a mad dash to make the squad for the singles event this year. 

One understands that barring 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams and 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, who are deemed automatic choices on the weight of their performances and rankings, all other places could be up for grabs this year.

Will Serena Williams partner elder sister Venus at Tokyo Olympics

With four career Olympic gold medals to her credit, Serena walks into that squad without a word of debate. But who would she pair up with for the doubles draw?

Will Team USA lean on Venus Williams again or go for a younger pick to partner the 39-year-old? 

While the Serena and Venus pairing at the Summer Games has yielded an incredible three doubles golds, the latter, at 40, is clearly past her prime. 

Sofia Kenin of the United States returns a volley during her Women’s Singles third round match against Ons Jabeur of Tunisia on Day Six of the 2020 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 05, 2020 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

So, the question is do the selectors feel that the superstar siblings have another Olympic doubles gold in them?

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And as for sealing the other spots for the women’s singles draw, there’s plenty more names vying for contention, with losing Australian Open finalist Jennifer Brady, Jessica Pegula, Madison Keys, teen sensation Coco Gauff and Sloane Stephens top-lining the list.

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Rising stars such as Manda Anisimova, Caty McNally and Danielle Collins would also be hoping to jump the queue on the weight of their talents.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

868 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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