Is there tennis in the Olympics?

The first summer Olympics were held in 1896. The governing body of tennis back then was the International Lawn Tennis Federation. Tennis players were back then categorized as amateurs and professionals. These players could play only a restricted number of events. The International Olympic Committee did not find any clarity over the definition of amateur players. As a result, tennis was removed from the Olympics after 1924.

In 1968 and 1984, the sport returned as a demonstration event at the Olympics and players under the age of 21 participated in this. Finally, once the Open Era commenced, tennis no longer had a split between amateur and professional tennis. It returned to Olympics in 1988 and has been a regular feature ever since.

The USA has won the most gold medals at tennis (21) with a total tally of 39 medals. The United Kingdom has won the most medals (43) with 17,14 and 12 gold, silver and bronze medals respectively. The Williams sisters (Serena Williams and Venus Williams) have won three medals each in doubles. Both of them have also won a gold medal in singles too. In the men’s category, Andy Murray has won two gold medals and is the only men’s singles player till date to defend his Olympic title. Gigi Fernandez and Mary Joe Fernandez have also defended their women’s doubles titles apart from the Williams sisters.

A player who wins all four slams and an Olympic gold in the same calendar year is said to win the Golden Slam. Steffi Graf is the only player till date to win the Golden Slam (1988). 

The 1992 and 2012 Olympics were played on clay and grass courts respectively. Apart from these two editions, each tennis Olympic event has been played on hard courts. The 2021 Tokyo Olympics would be played on hard courts, the 2024 Paris Olympics on clay courts and the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics on hard courts.

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