Tennis is a fast and dynamic sport that demands strength and quick reactions. Matches have no time limit so can last for hours, meaning that players also need incredible stamina, both mental and physical in order to do well.
Tennis was one of the original sports of the Olympic Games but arguments over the players’ amateur status led to the sport being dropped from the programme in 1922.
It returned 66 years later as the movement embraced professionalism and since then the sport has been a target for the critics who feel that, because the career highlight for major players is a Grand Slam tournament, usually Wimbledon, rather than Olympic gold, it does not really merit its place in the Games.
Venue: All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon
Date: 28 July – 5 August
Ace: Powerful serve that the opposing player fails to touch with their racket.
Deuce: The score 40-40. A player must win two consecutive rallies to win the game.
Let: Requires the point to be replayed, normally when a serve makes contact with the net or there is some kind of distraction to the players.
Lob: A ball hit high in the air, usually deep into the opponent’s court.
Love: No points, zero.
Tie-break: If the score in games reaches 6-6 in anything other than the deciding set, there is a tie-break, won by the first player or doubles team to reach seven points with a margin of at least two clear points.
A first-to-10 tie-break is also used to decide mixed doubles matches that reach one set all.
A player will win a point if they hit a shot that their opponent cannot return or their opponent’s shot lands outside the court.
To win a single game a player must win four points, by two clear points. To win a set a player must win six or seven games and be two games ahead of his opponent.
If the score is 6-6 a tiebreak will be played where the winner is the first to seven by a margin of two or more points. To win a match a player must win two out of three sets.
At the Games, the tennis will be played according to a knockout format, with the winners of the semi-finals facing each other on Wimbledon’s famous Centre Court for a gold medal.
All matches will be played to the best of three sets, apart from the men’s singles final, which is the best of five sets.
One to watch
Unfortunately for GB we have no female players in the Olympics this year. Following Elena Baltacha’s first round defeat at the French Open her world ranking dropped lower than the top 64 that is required for entry into the Games.
So the one to watch is Andy Murray – Britain’s number one and world number four is sure to be in the running for winning a gold medal in London this summer.
Who to follow on twitter…
@judmoo – Judy Murray, Andy Murrays mum and women’s fed cup coach
Tennis Olympic fact
Wimbledon was also the stage for the tennis competition when London first hosted the Olympic Games in 1908, with Great Britain winning all six gold medals.
The Women’s Sports Magazine