“To me, this was bigger than a Grand Slam; it was more special,” – that’s what German legend Steffi Graf said after winning the Gold Medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
It is Rio 2016 – The entire sporting fraternity eagerly awaits the kick-off to the biggest sporting event in the world. The 15th edition of tennis at the Summer Olympics kicks off at the Olympic Tennis Center in Rio as tennis players will battle it out for the most prized piece of metal sports has to offer and etch their names in the history books forever. Like they say: “It takes just six grams of gold to lift the worth of a nation”.
All eyes will be on world no.1 Novak Djokovic. The Serbian is the big favorite to win his 1st gold medal (and Serbia’s second-ever gold). The defending champions from the 2012 London Olympics, Britain’s Andy Murray (Team GB Flag bearer) and Team USA’s Serena Williams will look to become the first players to successfully defend their singles titles.
2008 gold medallist Rafa Nadal, Spain’s Flag bearer, makes his comeback from the wrist injury he suffered during Roland Garros.
Sport360 brings to you all the history, statistics and numbers from the sport of tennis at the Summer Olympics.
1896 – 1924 – Part of the Games, but left out due to disputes between ITF and the IOC.
1908 & 1912 – The 1908 London & 1912 Stockholm Games featured both Outdoor & Indoor Events.
1968 & 1984 – Demonstration/Exhibition Sport.
1988 onwards – Full Medal Sport.
1896-1904 and 1988-1992 – Bronze Medals were awarded to semi-final Losers; in all other editions, a Bronze Medal match was staged.
2004 – 2012 – Ranking points were counted from both the ATP and WTA; no points to be awarded in 2016.
1 – Serena Williams (USA) will attempt to become the first woman to win two gold medals in the women’s singles category. She will also look to become the first woman to successfully defend her title.
2 – Rafa Nadal (ESP) and Andy Murray (GBR), the men’s singles gold medallists from the last two Games will look to become the first men to win two gold medals in the men’s singles category. Scot Murray (GBR) will look to become the first man to successfully defend his title.
3 – Brit Reginald “Reggie” Frank Doherty has won three gold medals (two in doubles & one in mixed), the most by any man.
Men’s Doubles – 1900 Paris
Mixed Doubles – 1900 Paris
Men’s Doubles – 1908 London Outdoor
4 – The Williams’ sisters, Venus & Serena have won four gold medals at the Summer Olympics Games, one each in singles and three in doubles – all won together – the most of any tennis players.
Serena Williams (USA) – 2012 London (Singles)
Venus Williams (USA) – 2000 Sydney (Singles)
Doubles – 2000 Sydney, 2008 Beijing, 2012 London
4 – Reginald Doherty (GBR), Charles Dixon (GBR), Gunnar Setterwall (SWE) hold the record for the most medals won by a man (4).
5 – Kathleen “Kitty” McKane Godfree, a British tennis and badminton player, won five Olympic medals at the 1920 Antwerp and 1924 Paris games, the most Olympic medals ever won by a tennis player (one gold, two silver and two bronze). Serena, Venus and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (ESP) have won four medals each.
8 – Americans have won two or more gold medals, out of the 18 who have managed to achieve this feat (including six from Great Britain, two from France, one from South Africa and one from Chile).
Home Games Medallists (Last Achieved)
Men’s singles – Andy Murray (GBR) – Gold (2012 London)
Women’s singles – Lindsay Davenport (USA) – Gold (1996 Atlanta)
Men’s doubles – Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde (AUS) – Silver (2000 Sydney)
Women’s doubles – Zi Yan and Jie Zheng (CHN) – Bronze (2008 Beijing)
Mixed doubles – Laura Robson and Andy Murray (GBR) – Silver (2012 London)
Unseeded Medallists post 1988
Men’s singles – Mardy Fish (USA) – Silver (2004 Athens)
Women’s singles – Alicia Molik (AUS) – Bronze (2004 Athens)
Men’s doubles – Julien Benneteau and Richard Gasquet (FRA) – Bronze (2012 London)
Women’s doubles – Serena Williams and Venus Williams (USA) – Gold (2012 London)
Mixed doubles – Laura Robson and Andy Murray (GBR) – Silver (2012 London)
Gold Medallists without dropping a set (since 1988)
Women’s singles – Serena Williams (USA) – 2012 London
Women’s doubles – Gigi Fernandez and Mary Joe Fernandez (USA) – 1996 Atlanta, Serena Williams and Venus Williams (USA) – 2012 London
Three Peat at the Same Games (players who have won 3 medals at the same games)
Laurence Doherty (GBR) – 1900 Paris
Reginald Doherty (GBR) – 1900 Paris
Harold Mahony (IRL) – 1900 Paris
Charles Dixon (GBR) – 1912 Stockholm Indoor
Vincent Richards (USA) – 1924 Paris
Suzanne Lenglen (FRA) – 1920 Antwerp
Kathleen McKane (GBR) – 1920 Antwerp
Gold Medals – Singles and Doubles at the same games (Last Achieved)
Nicolas Massu (CHI) was the last man to win both the singles and doubles gold (w. F González) at the 2004 Athens Games (the only two gold medals Chile has won at the Olympics).
Serena Williams (USA) achieved this feat at the 2012 London Games (doubles w. V Williams). Venus also achieved this feat at the 2000 Sydney Olympics (doubles w. Serena).
20 – Gold Medals for USA in tennis, the most by any nation.
Men’s singles – 3
Men’s doubles – 4
Women’s singles – 5
Women’s doubles – 7
Mixed doubles – 1
42 – Olympic Medals for Great Britain, the most by any nation in tennis events. GOLD – 16, SILVER – 14, BRONZE – 12.
16 years, 132 days – at the 1992 Barcelona Games, American Jennifer Capriati stunned German defending champion Steffi Graf in the women’s singles gold medal match, thereby becoming the youngest Olympic tennis gold medallist (also the youngest tennis medallist ever).
44 years, 159 days – Brit George Hillyard is the oldest Olympic tennis gold medallist (and the oldest tennis medallist ever), when he won the men’s doubles title (with Reginald Doherty (GBR)) at the 1908 London Games (Outdoor).
Career Golden Slam – Djokovic (SRB) will look to join Andre Agassi (USA) and Nadal (ESP) as the only players to have completed the Career Golden Slam (Career Slam + Olympic Gold).
Career Super Slam – Djokovic (SRB) will look to join Andre Agassi (USA) as the only players to have completed the Career Super Slam (Career Golden Slam + Year-End Championship).
Charlotte Cooper – At the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris where women took part for the first time, Cooper won the women’s singles gold medal when she defeated Hélène Prévost (FRA) in the final. She became not only the first female Olympic tennis champion but also the first individual female Olympic champion.
Best Performance by Defending Gold Medallists
John Pius Boland – He was the first Olympic champion in tennis for Great Britain and Ireland at the first modern Olympics, which took place in Athens in 1896.
7 – Leander Paes (IND) will feature in a record-breaking 7th Consecutive Games (1992-2016). The Indian Legend won the men’s singles bronze medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
5 – Venus will join Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (ESP) as the only two women to feature in five Consecutive Games.
Best Performance by Top Seeds & World No.1s (since 1988)
Agassi was the last top seed to win the gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Roger Federer (SUI), who was seeded No.1 at three consecutive games (2004, 2008, 2012), owns the best performance by a reigning World No.1 when he won the silver medal at the 2012 London Games.
World No.1 – No reigning world no.1 has won the men’s singles gold medal. Nadal is the highest-ranked player to win the gold medal (was ranked No.2 at the Beijing Olympics in 2008). He became the world no.1 a day after winning the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. And in the same year, Nadal became the first player ranked in the top five to win the men’s singles gold medal (Murray continued the trend in 2012).
Lowest Ranked – Marc Rosset (SUI) is the lowest ranked player to win the men’s singles gold medal. The Swiss was ranked 44th when he won at the 1992 Barcelona Games.
Women – Graf in 1988 and Justine Henin (BEL) in 2004 are the only top-ranked women to win the women’s singles gold medal. No women outside the top 10 have won the sought-after prize.
4 hrs. 26 mins – The marathon last four clash between Federer and Juan Martín del Potro (ARG) at the 2012 London Games is the longest match played at the Summer Olympics (best of three sets format; Federer winning 3-6 7-6(5) 19-17. This match is also the longest best-of-three-sets men’s singles match ever played in the open era (with or without a tiebreaker in the final set).
5 hrs. 3 mins – The epic gold medal match between Marc Rosset and Jordi Arrese (ESP) is the longest match ever at the Summer Olympics (best of five sets; Rosset winning 7-6(2) 6-4 3-6 4-6 8-6).
48 – The second round encounter between Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) and Milos Raonic (CAN) in London featured 48 games in the third set, the most games played in a single set at the Olympics. The match featured 66 games in total (Tsonga winning 6-3 3-6 25-23), thereby making this the longest match (by games, of a best of three sets format).
32,000 – Tennis balls to be used at the 2016 Rio Games (Wilson Australian Open).
Surface – The 2016 Edition will be played on hard court.
All editions of tennis at the Olympics:
Hard – 6 (1988, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2016)
Clay – 6 (1896, 1900, 1904, 1912, 1924, 1992)
Grass – 3 (1908, 1920, 2012)
Wood – 2 (Indoor – 1908/1912)