Can Serena Williams maintain her dominance at the All England Club in 2012 by following up her Wimbledon title with Olympic Gold? Or will the unique nature of the Olympics give rise to another contender, such as world number one Victoria Azarenka, Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska, or Maria Sharapova who will be looking to put her earlier than expected SW19 exit behind her.
Just three weeks after the end of this year’s Wimbledon, the All England Club will open its doors again for the Olympic tennis events.
Fresh off the back of her fifth grass court Grand Slam win, Williams goes into the tournament as a favorite having powered her way through the pack less than a month ago. The American will also be looking to make up for lost time after losing to Russian Elena Dementieva in three sets in the quarter finals four years ago. And while she has tasted Olympic Gold in the 2000 and 2008 doubles events, the 30 year old will likely view these Games as her last realistic chance of capturing singles gold.
Dementieva, the defending champion from Beijing 2008, retired in 2010, while the silver medalist Dinara Safina retired from tennis in 2011 according to her brother Marat Safinand and bronze medalist Vera Zvonareva will not be in London due to her current world ranking, so the field is open for new medallists.
Overall, the singles tournament comprises the top 64 players, barring a few exceptions due to injury or other eligibility criteria, in the world as per the WTA World Rankings on 11 June, with the top sixteen players seeded according to their ranking at that time. This gives Azarenka the number one seed based on her ranking.
As top seed, the Belarusian will be looking to go further than her third round showing in Beijing, while Radwanska bowed out a stage earlier in the second round, and Sharapova did not compete due to injury.
Stay tuned and watch this space for more information and predictions when the draw is announced.