In the last week of July 2012, 172 tennis players from around the world are expected to play in the Summer Olympics tennis tournament, hosted in London, England. What is the Summer Olympics tennis tournament? Why is it important?
A review of the following top things to know will help you be ready, so you can enjoy the event:
What: The Summer Olympic Games are a competition between athletes from around the world, in a wide variety of sports, held every four years. The modern Olympics were first held in 1896, in Athens, Greece. The 2012 Summer Olympics are being played in London, England.
When: The tennis competition will be played from July 28 to Aug. 5, 2012.
Where: The 2012 Games are being contested at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon.
Why Important: The modern Olympics began in 1896, as a way of bringing the nations of the world together in peace, competing in various athletic contests. The Summer Olympics are held once every four years, with different host cities. Beijing hosted in 2008 and now London is this year's host city.
Unique: The 2012 Summer Olympics tennis tournament, this will be the first to be played on all grass courts since the reintroduction of tennis to the Games in 1988.
Who: A total of 172 tennis players from around the world are expected to compete at Wimbledon in the 2012 London Olympics. Players are selected by a combination of their world rankings and, for some, performance in a pre-Olympic qualification tournament.
History: Tennis was one of the original sports of the modern Olympics, contested in 1896, and continued as an Olympic event through the 1924 Paris Olympics. After a 64-year absence, tennis returned to the Summer Olympics at Seoul, South Korea, in 1988. The 2012 London Games will be the 14th appearance of tennis as an Olympic sport.
Tennis Events: There will be five events in the 2012 Olympics tennis tournament: men's singles, women's singles, men's doubles, women's doubles, and mixed doubles. Mixed doubles is back for the first time since the Paris Games of 1924.
Past Champions: Two players have claimed three gold medals in Olympic tennis competition. Great Britain's Reginald Doherty won the men's doubles and mixed doubles in 1900, plus the men's doubles again in 1908 (he added a bronze medal in the 1900 men's singles). Venus Williams, of the United States, earned her gold medals in women's singles at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, plus women's doubles in both Sydney and the 2008 Games in Beijing.
Americans To Watch: The U.S. Olympic tennis team has not been formally announced, but the top-ranked players expected to compete include: Men's singles contestants John Isner and Andy Roddick; the men's doubles team of twin brothers Bob and Mike Bryan; women's singles led by Serena Williams and Christina McHale; plus the world's #1-ranked women's doubles team of Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond.
Enjoy the Games.
Harold Andrews first played tennis in the 1960s and continues to prefer his Jack Kramer wood racket. He enjoys watching coverage of both the Summer and Winter Olympics.