Wimbledon 2012 may have served up some early surprises for Australian fans, but six Aussies have been granted Olympic passes to return to the All England Club for the London Olympics.
Gold Coast duo Samantha Stosur (No.5) and Bernard Tomic (No.45), received direct acceptance into the singles events by virtue of their world rankings.
Lleyton Hewitt was also granted a wildcard into the men’s singles event on the eve of his tenth anniversary since winning the 2002 Wimbledon singles title.
Stosur who will be competing at her third Games believes the Olympic Games represent a unique opportunity for athletes to hunt for a prize that only comes around every four years.
In 2011, Tomic became the youngest Wimbledon quarter-finalist since Boris Becker in 1986 and Olympic Section Manager and dual Olympic medallist Todd Woodbridge is confident of what Tomic and Hewitt, who thrives in the Davis Cup-like atmosphere created at the Olympics, can achieve in London.
Mixed doubles will return to the Olympic program for the first time since 1924 to add an extra dimension of excitement at The All England Club in August 2012.
All Olympic tennis teams are capped at four men and four women per nation. These athletes compete across the singles, doubles and mixed doubles.
Women to watch:
Samantha Stosur is leading the women's charge towards Olympic medals at the home of strawberries and cream. The dual Olympian held up the 2011 US Open Crown and created history, becoming the first Australian woman to win a grand slam singles title in 31 years. The 2012 French Open semi-finalist and 2010 runner-up joined with Sabine Lasicki of Germany to be runner-up in the doubles in 2011.
Men to watch:
Australia’s male ranks received a valuable boost in 2011 when teenager Bernard Tomic reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals. Tomic was the youngest man to do so since Boris Becker in 1986. He backed up his supreme form by making the 4th round of the 2012 Australian Open before going down to Roger Federer. With the world at his feet, Australia has high hopes for the young player on grass at the London Olympic Games.
The fairytale story would be for Lleyton Hewitt to triumph at Wimbledon a decade after winning the Grand Slam. Hewitt defeated David Nalbandian at Wimbledon in 2002 and he would love to enjoy success again during the ten year anniversary. The stalwart of Australia's Davis Cup campaigns was granted a wildcard to the Olympics.
There's something about Wimbledon:
Australia enjoys an illustrious history at Wimbledon. Norman Brookes was the first Australian to claim a Wimbledon singles crown in 1907, and the most recent champion is Hewitt who won the title over David Nalbandian in 2002. Other great Australians to triumph at Wimbledon include Rod Laver (1961, 1962, 1968, 1969), John Newcombe (1967, 1970, 1971), Pat Cash (1987), Margaret Court (1963, 1965, 1970) and Evonne Goolagong Cawley (1971, 1980).
In 2012 the French Open and Wimbledon will be perfect lead-in tournaments for the Australians to build momentum into the London Games.
There will be five events in the London 2012 tennis competition, with mixed doubles being added to the existing program of men’s and women’s singles and doubles.
The Olympic tennis competition involves single-elimination tournaments for each of the five events. All matches are played to tie-break sets except for the final set of the match. All matches are best-of-three sets, except for the men's singles and doubles finals, which are best-of-five.
In all events, the semi-final winners play to decide the gold and silver medals, and the semi-final losers play for bronze.
QUALIFICATION AND SELECTION
It is anticipated that Australia will send four male and four female athletes to the London Olympic Games. This is the maximum number a country can enter, based on world rankings and tour points.
For all the Nomination and Selection documentation click here>>>
AUSTRALIAN OLYMPIC HISTORY
Edwin Flack was the first Australian Olympian, Australian medallist and the first tennis player to win an Olympic medal. Among others, Flack won a bronze medal in the men’s doubles event at the Athens Olympic Games in 1896. It was not until the Games returned to Athens in 2004 that Alicia Molik became the first Australian tennis player to win a singles medal.
Molik’s bronze medal capped a rush of Australian medals that stemmed from 1988 (when tennis was reintroduced following a hiatus from 1924). Led by The Woodies who won gold in 1996 and silver in 2000, Australia medalled in doubles at four straight Olympics.
In Beijing the doubles combination of Lleyton Hewitt and Chris Guccione were the highest finishing Aussies, bowing out in the quarter finals.
To read more about Australia’s Olympic history in tennis, click here>>>