ITF Press Release, September 19, 2018
Thursday 20 September 2018 marks the 30th anniversary of tennis returning to the Olympic Games as a full medal sport at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Starting on Thursday and for the following 30 days, the ITF will showcase an indelible memory every morning on the ITF Olympic tennis website.
The first recollection will be the stunning achievement of Steffi Graf, of then West Germany, and her victory over Argentina’s Gabriela Sabatini on the hardcourts of South Korea that sealed an unforgettable calendar-year Golden Slam.
Graf’s mastery was a tough act to follow but, in the 30 years since, tennis has consistently produced plenty of instances to savour and over the next month the ITF will be sharing those with tennis fans under the banner: 30 love.
Aside from its role as a demonstration event in 1968 and 1984, tennis had not featured at the Olympic Games since 1924, so Graf’s success was the perfect way for the sport to announce its return to the Olympic mainstream.
The exploits of Miloslav Mecir, nicknamed ‘Big Cat’, will also be celebrated among the first tranche of memories. Mecir, who was representing Czechoslovakia, overcame American Tim Mayotte in 1988 to win the first gold medal in men’s singles tennis since 1924.
“Looking at the photographs from past Olympics brings back such vivid memories and reminiscing about those and their significance goes to show just how far tennis has come in the last three decades”, said ITF President David Haggerty. “It also proves the level to which tennis has established itself and affirmed its position as an Olympic powerhouse.”
The Olympic feature is also timely given the two-year run-in period to the next Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2020 is well underway, and the third edition of the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires begins on 6 October.
“The likes of Damir Dzumhur, Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev in the men’s game, and Jelena Ostapenko, Daria Kasatkina, Daria Gavrilova and Timea Babos in the women’s all boast a Youth Olympic Games medal, which underlines what a fantastic springboard the Youth Olympic Games can be,” added Haggerty.
The 2018 Youth Olympic Games will take place from 6-18 October, with the tennis event scheduled for 7-14 October. For further information please visit the ITF’s Youth Olympic tennis website.