Olympics Sports >> Tennis

Tennis

THE 5 EVENTS

  • Men (2 events): Singles, doubles
  • Women (2 events): Singles, doubles
  • Mixed doubles

THE FORMAT

  • 64 players for the men's and women's singles (16 seeds), 32 teams for the men's and women's doubles (8 seeds), 16 teams for the mixed doubles (4 seeds).
  • Knock-out tournaments. All matches will be best of 3 sets, except for the men's singles final, which will be best of 5 sets.
  • The two losing semi-finalists will compete in a bronze medal match.
  • The tie-break operates in every set. In the mixed doubles the third set will be played as a match tie-break (10 points).

MILESTONES

1874

British officer Walter Clopton Wingfield establishes the first rules of lawn tennis.

1877

The first Wimbledon tournament is held, and won by Englishman Spencer Gore.

1881

The US Open is held for the first time.

1900

Great Britain's Charlotte Cooper wins two gold medals in tennis at the Paris Games (women's singles and mixed doubles). She thus becomes the first female Olympic champion.

1905

The Australian Open is held for the first time.

1925

The 4th Grand Slam tournament, the French Open, is held for the first time.

1927

Following a conflict between the International Lawn Tennis Federation and the IOC concerning professionals at the Games, tennis disappears from the Olympic programme until 1988, in Seoul.

1968

The dawn of the Open Era. Creation of the professional circuit and ATP rankings.

1969

Australian Rod Laver completes a second calendar Grand Slam, a feat he had already achieved in 1962.

1973

Introduction of the tie-break.

1988

German Steffi Graf becomes the first tennis player to pull off the "Golden Slam", winning all four Grand Slam tournaments and Olympic gold (in Seoul) in the same calendar year.

2012

Swiss Roger Federer wins Wimbledon for the 7th time to claim his 17th Grand Slam title. He leads the all-time list ahead of American Pete Sampras and Spain's Rafael Nadal (14 Grand Slam wins each).

STARS

Rod Laver (Australia)

Mr. Grand Slam. The only player to have completed two calendar Grand Slams, in 1962 and 1969. The left-handed ace won a total of 11 Grand Slams tournaments and 5 Davis Cup titles between 1959 and 1973.

Martina Navratilova (Czechoslovakia/United States)

The Queen of Wimbledon. The Czech-born American won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, half of them at Wimbledon. She won a total of 59 Grand Slam titles, including women's and mixed doubles. Her final Grand Slam win came in the mixed doubles at the 2006 US Open, at the age of 49. Navratilova also holds the record for most singles titles: 167.

Pete Sampras (United States)

Pistol Pete. 14 victories in Grand Slam tournaments between 1990 and 2002, including 7 Wimbledon titles. That saw the American equal Willie Renshaw's record (although the competition maybe wasn't as stiff in the 1880s...), a feat matched by Roger Federer in 2012. An immense champion, Sampras also won 2 Davis Cups and 5 World Tour Finals.

Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse.

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