RIO DE JANEIRO, August 5, 2016 (ITF)
Tennis was one of the original 9 sports at the first Olympic Games in Athens in 1896. Ireland’s John Boland defeated Dionysios Kasdaglis to become the first Olympic tennis champion, while 4 years later, in Paris, Great Britain’s Charlotte Cooper defeated Helene Prevost to become the first woman ever to win an Olympic medal.
The sport continued to be staged at the Games until 1924, with Laurie Doherty, Suzanne Lenglen and Helen Wills among the more notable winners, but tennis withdrew from the Olympics after 1924. After a one-off demonstration/exhibition event at Mexico City 1968, it returned as a 21-and-under demonstration event at Los Angeles 1984.
The comeback followed a determined campaign by then ITF President Philippe Chatrier, ITF General Secretary David Gray and ITF Vice President Pablo Llorens, with great support from IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch. The success of the event was overwhelming and the IOC decided to reintroduce tennis as a full medal sport at Seoul 1988.
DJOKOVIC LOOKS TO COMPLETE ‘CAREER GOLDEN SLAM’
Novak Djokovic has the chance to become just the 3rd man in history to win all 4 Grand Slam singles titles and Olympic singles gold, and complete the ‘Career Golden Slam’. The only 2 men to have achieved the feat in men’s singles are Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal.
Serena Williams and Bob and Mike Bryan completed the ‘Career Golden Slam’ when they won gold in the women’s singles and men’s doubles events respectively at London 2012. 12 players have completed the ‘Career Golden Slam’ in singles or doubles – Serena Williams is the only player to have achieved the feat in both singles and doubles.
CAN SERENA AND ANDY SUCCESSFULLY DEFEND?
London 2012 singles winners Serena Williams and Andy Murray are looking to become the first players in history to successfully retain an Olympic singles title.
Of the 6 Olympic Tennis Events played since Seoul 1988, just one singles gold medal winner has won a medal in the next Olympic Games. Seoul 1988 champion Steffi Graf is the only player – man or woman – to achieve the feat, having picked up a singles silver medal at Barcelona 1992.
Gigi Fernandez and Mary Joe Fernandez and Serena and Venus Williams are the only players to have successfully defended an Olympic title, having retained their women’s doubles titles at Sydney 2000 and London 2012.