With the world’s top tennis players like Rafael Nadal and the Williams sisters being confirmed for their country’s respective Olympic tennis teams, anticipation is really starting to mount for the arrival of the 2012 Olympics in our fair capital city next month. The tennis games for 2012 have a particular significance to both tennis fans and players alike, as they will take place at the UK’s home of grass court tennis – Wimbledon.
Our Past History with Olympic Tennis
Since most of you won’t be old enough to remember, it may be a surprise to read that this isn’t the first time London has been the host for the Olympic games, we had the privilege twice before in 1908 and 1948. The Olympic tennis event that took place at the start of the last century was very different to the one that we will be looking forward to watching next month, the games took place over a total of six months and were split into two events – indoor and outdoor tennis.
The indoor tournament was held in the earlier part of the year, before the Wimbledon Championships that summer, and by all accounts wasn’t a particularly exciting affair. Featuring players from Britain and Sweden only due to the absence of the Australian and New Zealand teams, the indoor event did serve to stir a little more international interest in the proceeding outdoor tournament. In fact the 1908 outdoor tournament, held at the first All England Lawn Tennis Club at Worple Road, resulted in participation from a much wider field of countries and players, more so than were at the main Wimbledon Championships just a few weeks before.
The Lowdown on the 2012 Games
The 2012 tennis tournament will only be the 14th time that tennis has featured in the Olympic Games, due to its disappearance from Olympiads for much of the 20th Century. One again it will be held at the All England Club, although today’s players will be contesting their skills in a very different venue. Due to start on 28th July, just twenty days after the end of the Wimbledon Championships, over just one week we will see the world’s finest tennis players battle it out on court for the chance of the ultimate sporting achievement – an Olympic gold medal.
Setting yet precedence for tennis at Wimbledon, during the Olympic tournament players will be allowed to wear coloured clothing on court, something that is normally prohibited during the main championships. A total of 172 players will be aiming to get their way to at least one of the tournament’s medal events – men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles.
Our Top Picks for Medallists
Some incredible players have been confirmed for the 2012 Olympic tennis event, with a mixture of seasoned Olympic veterans and players making their debut appearances. Rafa Nadal, Roger Federer and of course, Novak Djokovic are the three players who we foresee dominating the final rounds of the event, although it would be very unpatriotic of us to forget about our top UK hope – Andy Murray. The women’s line-up is just as starry, with Maria Sharapova likely to go far although she’ll have to pull out her best tennis yet if she is to stop the three-time Olympic gold medallist Venus Williams.