It’s not long to go now until the London Olympic tennis tournament gets started at the familiar grass courts of the All-England Tennis Club, and as fever pitch starts to hit the captains for the US team have been named and “can’t wait to get started”.
Former Olympic medallist Mary Joe Fernandez, who has a total of 3 medals from two appearances at the games, and Jay Berger, an assistant coach during the 2008 event, were formally named today as the women’s and men’s captains respectively for the team by the US Tennis Association. Dan James, a renowned wheelchair team coach and head of the US national team, was also announced as the official team coach for the US Paralympics team.
Currently an ESPN analyst, Fernandez medalled in gold and bronze at the 1992 games in Barcelona and secured another gold in the proceeding 1996 event at Atlanta. Excited to be part of the games once again, Fernandez that she is “really lucky to get to be part of that all again. Three times, wow”. Berger, too, is looking forward to meeting his team and believes that “the Olympics are like no other event…It’s special for a reason, you feel it.”
Although the two captains will have to wait for team member nominations to begin before they know who they’ll be coaching, a process that’s touted to begin once the post-Roland Garros rankings are released next Monday, it’s likely that we’ll see some big US tennis names on their teams. The Williams sisters, Christina McHale and Varvara Lepchenko are the front-runners for Fernandez’s team, with Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond as sure bets for her doubles players. Andy Roddick, John Isner and Donald Young, as well as brothers and doubles-players Bob and Mike Bryan are possible candidates for Berger’s team.
Questions are still being raised over the likelihood of top 10 player Mardy Fish making the final team. The top-ranked US player is still undergoing recovery from the heart surgery he had last month to correct arrhythmia, although he has begun to practice and train lightly again regularly. Berger has reported that he isn’t expecting Fish to be nominated, but he will hopefully get the chance to speak with him during the nominations process.
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