OK, we're going to make this easy. No having to scroll down to the bottom of the column for correct answers that are upside-down. Just a baker's dozen of lesser-known facts and stories about tennis and the Games.
Q: When did tennis become part of the modern Olympics?
A: 1896. It was one of the original nine events included in the first modern Olympiad in Athens. John Pius Boland of England won the singles and teamed with Friedrich Traun of Germany to win the men's doubles in the only two tennis competitions held.
Q: Who was the first woman to win a gold medal?
A: Britain's three-time Wimbledon champion Charlotte Cooper won the singles title in St. Louis in 1904, becoming not only the first female Olympic champion in tennis, but the first woman in any sport to win an Olympic gold medal!
Q: When and where was the last Olympic tennis played in London before 2012?
A: 1908, predictably at the All-England Club, in its pre-Wimbledon location, and at Queen's Club. The 1948 Games were held in London, but tennis was not a part of the program.
Q: How long was tennis dropped from the Olympics? And why?
A: The hiatus lasted 64 years, from just after the 1924 Antwerp games to 1968 in Mexico City when the sport returned as a "demonstration sport," and the Open era of tennis began allowing professionals and amateurs to compete against one another. Tennis had been dropped from the Olympics because the International Tennis Federation and the International Olympic Committee were in dispute over the IOC's unyielding definition of "amateur." At the time only amateur athletes were allowed into Olympic competition.
Q: Who was the first American male singles gold medalist in tennis - and who was the most recent - and how many were there in between?
A: Vincent Richards in 1924 - and Andre Agassi in 1996. Between the two of them, none.
Q: Which American tennis player called the Olympic gold medal "the greatest accomplishment I have ever had in sport."
A: Andre Agassi, whose father had competed in the 1952 Helsinki Games for Iran.
Q: What active American players have a chance to surpass the record for the most-ever gold medals in tennis?
A: Venus Williams is presently tied for the most gold medals with three; her sister Serena has two. Both could surpass the present record at the 2012 Games. They are scheduled to play both singles and doubles (together). Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario of Spain won four Olympic medals, two silver and two bronze.
Q: Who was the last Swiss player to win an Olympic gold medal in singles?
A: Nope, not Roger Federer. (He has won doubles gold, in Beijing in 2008 with Davis Cup partner Stanislas Wawrinka.). It was Marc Rosset in Barcelona (1992).
Q: Which American tennis commentators are winners of Olympic medals?
A: Mary Jo Fernandez, 2 golds in doubles with Gigi Fernandez in Barcelona (1992) and Atlanta (1996); Lindsay Davenport, gold in singles in Atlanta (1996). Pam Shriver, gold in doubles at Seoul in 1988 with Zina Garrison. And Brad Gilbert, a bronze medal in singles at Seoul (1988).
Q: Who was arguably the most surprising men's winner of gold medals in both singles and doubles since 1924?
A: In 2004 Nicolas Massu of Chile won the singles and then teamed with countryman Fernando Gonzalez to win the doubles, the first competitor to take gold medals in both events since American Vincent Richards in 1924.
Q: How many will there be in the 2012 London Olympic tennis fields?
A: The top 56 players on the ATP and WTA tour have gotten bids if they met other qualifying requirements by playing Davis Cup or Federation Cup. Additionally, eight wild cards have been given for both the singles and the doubles. For the first time since 1924 in Antwerp, mixed doubles will also be contested in London.
Q: Which players will represent the U.S. in London?
A: John Isner, Andy Roddick, Ryan Harrison, and Donald Young constitute the men's team. Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Christina McHale and Varvara Lepchenko make up the women's contingent..
Q: When does play begin at the London Games?
A: July 28, the day after the Opening Ceremonies. The tennis competition ends August 5.
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