Rio Olympics were declared open early morning yesterday after a fantastic opening ceremony which saw athletes from more than 200 countries march proudly with their flags. Tennis has been a major part of Modern Olympics ever since it’s return in 1988 , here we look at some interesting facts about tennis at the Olympics.
1) The Williams Sisters
Serena and Venus Williams have won more Olympic golds in tennis than anyone else. Both of them have won 4 gold medals , 3 of which have come in the Women’s Doubles event in Sydney 2000 , Beijing 2008 and London 2012. Serena won her singles gold at London while Venus won her singles gold way back in Sydney .
The Williams sisters come into the games on a great run of form having won the Wimbledon doubles title and Serena winning the Single’s title. Both Serena and Venus are expected to add more gold medals to team USA’s medal tally.
2) All England Club
The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet club , best known to us as the venue of the Wimbledon Championships , has hosted the tennis events at two different olympic games held at London in 1908 and in 2012.
The 2012 Olympics was the first since 1924 to have the matches being played on grass court.
3) Tennis in 1904
The tennis games at 2016 Rio Olympics has almost 200 athletes from more than 50 countries competing for the top prize. The story of the 1904 St Louis games was a little bit different, the 1904 games had just 36 participants from 2 different countries. 35 American and 2 German.
Things have changed drastically in 100 years and tennis is a more global game now.
4) Leander Paes’s exploits in 96
In 1996 Leander Paes became the first Indian since KD Jadhav to win an individual medal at the Olympics . Then , aged 23 , Paes was one of India’s finest athletes and had a great run in the Atlanta games losing out to the eventual Gold medalist Andre Agassi in the semi finals.
That Bronze medal made Leander Paes a household name in India and the legend has since went on to defy all the odds placed against him. He has competed in consecutive Olympics games from 1992 to 2012 and this year, he will be the first Indian ever to compete at 8 different Olympic games.
5) Steffi Graf in 1988
German tennis great Steffi Graf won her only Olympic gold medal at the 1988 Seoul games in the Ladies Singles. 1988 was a really memorable year for Graf as she went on to win all 4 grand slam singles title along with the Olympic gold. She is the only person ever to have achieved the calendar ‘Golden Slam’ of all 4 grand slam titles along with an Olympic gold in the same year.
Also Read – 5 Olympians to watch out at Rio 2016