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USTA names Olympic teams

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — The USTA, the governing body for the sport of tennis in the United States, announced today the 12 players nominated to the U.S. Olympic Tennis Teams for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, July 28 - August 5.

U.S. women’s tennis coach Mary Joe Fernandez nominated a six-person team with four singles entries and two doubles teams. 13-time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams will compete in the singles competition along with Christina McHale, Varvara Lepchenko and three-time Olympic gold medalist Venus Williams, who will be competing in her fourth Olympics. The world’s No. 1 doubles team of Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond will compete for the U.S. in doubles, as will the Williams sisters, who are undefeated in Olympic doubles competition and will be seeking their third gold medal together (2000, 2008).

U.S. men’s tennis coach Jay Berger also nominated a six-player team consisting of four singles entries and two doubles teams. 2004 Olympian Andy Roddick was named to the team along with John Isner, Ryan Harrison and Donald Young in singles. The 2008 bronze medalists in men’s doubles, Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, will return to the Olympics as a U.S. men’s doubles team, with Isner and Roddick making up a second doubles team.

The U.S. will also nominate two teams in mixed doubles - which will be contested at the Olympics Games for the first time since tennis returned to the Games in 1988 - comprised from among the 12 players and named once all players are on site.

The 2012 Olympic tennis competition will be staged July 28 - August 5 on the grass courts of the All England Lawn Tennis Club at Wimbledon. The U.S. has won 17 Olympic medals in men’s and women’s tennis since it returned as a full medal sport in 1988 - more than any other nation.

“These 12 players have worked extremely hard to earn selection to the U.S. Olympic Team, and they will be granted the tremendous honor of playing for their country on the world’s biggest stage,” said Jon Vegosen, Chairman of the Board and President, USTA. “That the competition is being held on perhaps tennis’ most hallowed grounds, these Olympics will surely augment a memorable summer of tennis.”

“We have a very experienced team replete with gold medalists and a doubles team that is currently the best in the world,” said Fernandez, who has led the U.S. Fed Cup Team to the Fed Cup final in two of her three years as Captain. “I am honored to have the opportunity to coach this team at the Olympics and firmly believe that we have a team capable of competing for multiple medals.”

“Our guys are honored to be representing their country, and are relishing the opportunity to compete for gold at Wimbledon,” said Berger, who has been the USTA Player Development Head of Men’s Tennis since 2008. “I am confident that we will be in medal contention in both singles and doubles.”

Serena Williams, 30, is undefeated and a two-time gold medalist in doubles (2000 and 2008), and a quarterfinalist in her only Olympic singles appearance in 2008. She is a 13-time Grand Slam singles champion, including four Wimbledon singles titles and has captured 12 Grand Slam doubles titles (four at Wimbledon) and two mixed doubles titles. She is one of six women in history to have held the No. 1 rankings in both singles and doubles simultaneously. Williams is a perfect 11-0 in Fed Cup play, including 8-0 in singles, and she helped the U.S. capture the 1999 Fed Cup title.

Venus Williams, 32, is the most decorated Olympic tennis player in U.S. history with three gold medals, and will become the first American tennis player to compete in four Olympic Games. She captured the gold medal in singles in 2000 and won gold medals in doubles with her sister Serena in 2000 and 2008. She is a seven-time Grand Slam champion, including five Wimbledon titles, and has won 12 Grand Slam doubles titles (four at Wimbledon) and two mixed doubles titles. Williams is 18-4 in Fed Cup competitions, including a 14-2 singles record, and she helped lead the U.S. to the 1999 title.

Christina McHale, 20, will make her Olympic debut in London. She captured the bronze medal in singles and silver medal in doubles at the 2011 Pan American Games, and has reached the third round of the last three Grand Slam events to help her crack the WTA Top 30 for the first time. She is 4-3 in singles in Fed Cup play, with all four wins coming in 2012.

Varvara Lepchenko, 26, will make her Olympic debut and represent the U.S. for the first time since becoming an official citizen in September 2011. She is a native of Uzbekistan who received political asylum from the U.S. in 2001, and changed her nationality to officially represent the U.S. in 2007. Lepchenko was one of just two Americans to reach the fourth round at the 2012 French Open.

Liezel Huber, 35, will make her second Olympic appearance for the U.S. after competing in doubles in 2008. She also competed for South Africa at the 2000 games in Sydney. She is currently the world’s top-ranked doubles player along with partner Lisa Raymond, and has captured five Grand Slam women’s doubles titles (two at Wimbledon) and two Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. Huber has an 8-2 doubles record for the U.S. in Fed Cup play (17-4 career with U.S. and South Africa), and helped lead the U.S. to the consecutive Fed Cup finals in 2009-10.

Lisa Raymond, 38, will make her second Olympic appearance after reaching the third round in singles and the quarterfinals in doubles in 2004. Currently the world’s top-ranked doubles player along with partner Liezel Huber (Raymond became the oldest woman to ever achieve the No. 1 ranking in either singles or doubles.). Raymond has captured six Grand Slam women’s doubles titles, including Wimbledon in 2001, and four Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. She has an 11-3 Fed Cup doubles record (14-9 overall), and helped lead the U.S. to 2000 Fed Cup title.

John Isner, 27, will make his Olympic debut at the site where he competed in the longest match in tennis history, defeating Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the fifth set of their 2010 first round match that spanned 11 hours and five minutes over three days. He has recorded victories over world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and world No. 3 Roger Federer thus far in 2012, and recently cracked the ATP World Tour Top 10 for the first time. Isner is 7-3 in Davis Cup play, including a 4-0 mark in 2012 to help lead the U.S. to the semifinals in September.

Andy Roddick, 29, will make his second Olympic appearance after reaching the singles quarterfinals in 2004. Roddick captured the 2003 US Open and is a three-time finalist at Wimbledon, including 2009, when he lost to Roger Federer 16-14 in the longest fifth set in Wimbledon final history. He has also captured four titles at the Wimbledon tune-up at Queens Club, and last week he captured his first title at the grass court event in Eastbourne. Roddick owns 33 Davis Cup singles victories, second-most all-time in U.S. Davis Cup history, and helped lead the U.S. to the 2007 title.

Ryan Harrison, 20, will make his Olympic debut in London, after breaking into the ATP World Tour Top 50 for the first time this week. In 2008, Harrison became the third-youngest player since 1990 to win a main draw match on the ATP World Tour, and he reached the quarterfinals on grass in Nottingham in 2010. Harrison made his U.S. Davis Cup debut in the 2012 World Group first round against Switzerland.

Donald Young, 22, will make his Olympic debut in London. He reached his first career ATP World Tour final in Bangkok, Thailand, in 2011, and reached a career-high No. 38 in February 2012. Young became the youngest player to end a year ranked No. 1 in the ITF World Junior Rankings in 2005 at age 16, and captured the boys’ singles title at Wimbledon in 2007.

Bob Bryan, 34, will make his third consecutive Olympic appearance. He captured the bronze medal in men’s doubles in 2008 with twin brother Mike. Together, they own 11 Grand Slam men’s doubles titles (two at Wimbledon), and Bob has won seven mixed doubles titles. The Bryans own a record 78 ATP World Tour doubles titles together, and have finished as the world’s No. 1 doubles team in seven of the last nine years. Bob and Mike are each 20-2 in Davis Cup doubles play, including 19-2 record together, which ranks first all-time in Davis Cup history. They helped lead the U.S. to the 2007 Davis Cup title.

Mike Bryan, 34, will make his third consecutive Olympic appearance. He captured the bronze medal in men’s doubles in 2008 with twin brother Bob. In addition to the 11 Grand Slam men’s doubles titles he won with his brother, Mike has also won two mixed doubles titles. Mike owns 80 ATP World Tour doubles titles (two more than Bob, having posted a 14-2 record in 2002 with four different partners other than Bob).

Venus and Serena Williams are the last American women to win Olympic gold in tennis, having captured the 2008 gold medal in women’s doubles.

Andre Agassi was the last American man to win Olympic gold in men’s singles when he defeated Spain’s Sergi Bruguera in the gold medal match at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Ken Flach and Robert Seguso are the last American team to win Olympic gold in men’s doubles when they defeated Spain’s Sergio Casal and Emilio Sanchez in the gold medal match at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.

Tennis was part of the Olympic program from the first modern Olympiad in 1896 until 1924. After a 64-year hiatus, tennis returned to the official Olympic program in 1988, becoming the first sport to feature professional athletes.

Team nominations were made by the USTA’s Olympic Oversight Committee and are subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee and the International Tennis Federation.

 

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