Top 10 tennis moments at the Olympic Games
Tennis at the Olympics has given us some of the most incredible scenes in the history of sport.
Whether on clay in Barcelona, ââturf in London or hard elsewhere, these moments inspired fans and forever changed the players who created them, making them national heroes and often changing the course of their lives. career.
Who could forget the return of Justine Henin 5-1 in the semifinals against Anastasia Myskina, on the way to gold in Athens? Or the domination of Russia on the medal podium in women’s singles in Beijing 2008, led by Elena Dementieva? Or the epic run of Juan Martin del Potro to the Rio 2016 final, including victories against Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal?
These are just a few of the iconic moments that have unfolded since tennis returned to the Summer Games in 1988 after a 64-year absence.
And here are the 10 that marked us the most.
Graf’s Golden Slam
How could Steffi Graf’s 1988 season improve when she had already won the Grand Slam of the calendar year? It seemed impossible, given that the teenager had won the Australian, French, Wimbledon and US titles and only lost two sets in doing so.
Coincidentally, however, tennis was back on the Olympic schedule that year, and Graf traveled to Seoul just a week after her confidence-brimming US Open triumph.
It was broadcast on the hard courts of the Seoul Olympic Park Tennis Center; She only lost one set to claim the title, taking the gold with a 6-3 6-3 victory over Gabriela Sabatini, whom she also beat in the final at Flushing Meadows.
Graf remains the only player in tennis history to complete the âGolden Grand Slamâ calendar year.
16-year-old American phenomenon Jennifer Capriati further bolstered her superstar status by winning the gold in the women’s singles on clay court in Barcelona.
After upsetting second-seed Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in the semifinals, Capriati faced No.1 seed Graf in the final, who was playing for consecutive Olympic gold in singles. Still, the teenager recovered to win 3-6 6-3 6-4 – scoring the first-ever victory over Graf and the only victory she has scored against the mighty German in 11 career games.
It also remained the biggest milestone in her career until she completed an inspiring return triumph at the 2001 Australian Open.
National pride for Agassi, Davenport
The victories of Andre Agassi and Lindsay Davenport in Atlanta marked only the second time in Olympic tennis history that two players from the same nation have won gold in the men’s and women’s singles.
The fact that this feat came to national soil made it even sweeter.
Agassi was an established champion with three Grand Slam singles trophies already in his cabinet, but his 6-2 6-3 6-1 loss to Spaniard Sergi Bruguera took him to another milestone, and with his victory three years more late at Roland Garros, he became the first man to end his career in the Golden Grand Slam – the four major singles titles, plus Olympic gold.
Davenport, meanwhile, was a successful rising star who beat four Top 10 players – including Sanchez Vicario in a straight-set final – to win his career-biggest title at the time.
âIt definitely changed my life because every time I went to a tournament or a major tournament it was, ‘Well, why not? I can do it.’ It was a great first step, âsaid Davenport, who went on to win three Grand Slam singles titles and reach world number 1.
Venus Williams’ run to Olympic gold in singles in Sydney was a display of the American at the height of her powers.
She had recently broken through for her first Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon and followed that with a triumph at the US Open. She then headed to Down Under and, after being stretched to three sets by Sanchez Vicario and Monica Seles in the quarterfinals and semi-finals, ruled out Elena Dementieva 6-2 6-4 in the medal match of gold.
The result was part of a magnificent 35-game winning streak that won six tournament titles.
She also won doubles gold with her sister Serena to complete a stellar campaign in Harbor City.
Massu’s golden double
Mimicking the feat of Venus in Sydney 2000 was Nicolas Massu in Athens.
The Chilean had never made it past the third round of a Grand Slam tournament, nor placed in the top 10, but played inspired tennis en route to the greatest triumph of his career.
World number 1 Roger Federer was stunned in the second round by 18-year-old Tomas Berdych and four of the top five seeds had left by the end of the third round. Massu ousted the last of the top five – No.3 seed Carlos Moya – in the quarterfinals before returning to beat American Mardy Fish 6-3 3-6 2-6 6-3 6-4 in the game for the gold medal.
A day earlier, Massu and his Chilean partner Fernando Gonzalez – the singles bronze medalist – saved four match points in the fourth set and came back 3-1 in the fifth, to beat Germans Nicolas Kiefer and Rainer Schuettler for win gold in doubles.
âThe best two days of my life,â smiled Massu, after winning Chile’s first and only gold medal in Olympic history.
In perhaps the most dominant period of his career on any surface, Rafael Nadal won Roland Garros and Wimbledon and arrived at the Beijing Olympics after winning 32 of his last 33 matches.
And he left as the new world number one after winning his first gold in singles, ending Federer’s four-and-a-half-year reign at the top.
The Spaniard beat Novak Djokovic in a high-quality semi-final before beating Gonzalez – who had retained his impressive Olympic form from Athens – in straight sets in the final.
“Nowhere in my best dreams can I imagine something like what I did this year, so I want to enjoy those moments, right?” Nadal said.
Dream team: Federer and Wawrinka win gold
While Federer may have lost his No.1 ranking to Nadal and fell in the Olympic singles quarter-final to James Blake, he found joy in Beijing with his doubles triumph alongside Stan Wawrinka.
The two players, far more notable for their singles achievements, combined perfectly throughout the tournament, knocking out Indian champions Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes in the quarterfinals before stunning American legends Bob and Mike Bryan in straight sets in the semi-finals. .
They ended their dream week with a four-set victory over Swedes Simon Aspelin and Thomas Johansson in the gold medal game – and delivered this iconic celebration to us.
Serena’s sensational sweep
Few players have produced such a dominant display as Williams at the London Olympics.
Serena was in the middle of a purple stain; she had won 28 of her previous 29 matches when she started her Olympic campaign, a race that included the Wimbledon title on the same surface and in the same place.
And she broke everything on her way to the title – including Maria Sharapova 6-0 6-1 in the gold medal game.
|1R||Jelena jankovic||6-3 6-1|
|2R||Urszula Radwanska||6-2 6-3|
|3R||Vera Zvonareva||6-1 6-0|
|QF||Caroline Wozniacki||6-0 6-3|
|SF||Victoria Azarenka||6-1 6-2|
|F||Maria sharapova||6-0 6-1|
It was her first gold in singles, and she also secured her third gold in doubles for the United States with another magnificent performance alongside her sister Venus.
Murray puts Britain in a frenzy
Less than a month earlier, Murray had made the final at Wimbledon, where he lost to Federer in four sets.
He turned things around against the Swiss with stunning style on the same pitch to win his first Olympic gold medal. âIt was the best week of my one-mile tennis career,â said Murray after his 6-2 6-1 6-4 triumph.
Murray lost just one set to advance to the gold medal game, beating Djokovic 7-5 7-5 in the semifinals. And he overwhelmed Federer – who was exhausted after beating Juan Martin del Potro 19-17 in the third set of their epic semi-final – in what was then the biggest result of his career.