|Dates||28 July – 5 August 2012|
It was difficult to judge whether it was the historic setting of the All-England Club or the huge excitement caused by the unexpected success of local favourite Andy Murray that was the catalyst for the change of attitude but in 2012 it seemed that the sport of tennis finally found a niche for itself inside the Olympic Games. Perhaps the best example of the growing stature of the Olympic tournament came at the end of the bronze medal match in the men’s singles when former US Open winner Juan Martín del Potro sank to his knees and began sobbing after winning his country’s first medal of the Games.
The biggest tennis story of the Games was the victory of Britain’s Andy Murray in the men’s singles. In the space of 48 hours Murray defeated world number one Novak Đoković then avenged his Wimbledon final defeat by scoring a surprisingly emphatic victory over Roger Federer to win his nation’s first gold medal since tennis was reintroduced to the Games in 1988.
In the women’s event Serena Williams reigned supreme and lost only 17 games during her six matches. On no one occasion did she look like tasting defeat and her 6-0 6-1 win over Mariya Sharapova in the final was a clinical dissection of the reigning French open champion.
Americans dominated the doubles through two sibling combinations. The Bryans survived a first round scare to dominate the men’s doubles whilst Serena and Venus Williams made a mockery of their unseeded status to blitz their way through the women’s draw. It was a historic Games for the Williams sisters as they both brought their gold medal tally to four - which is either an outright Olympic tennis record or puts them level with Max Decugis depending on your view of the status of the 1906 Games.
After a hiatus of 88 years the mixed doubles was reintroduced as an Olympic event. This title was decided when the Belarus pairing of women’s world number one Viktoriya Azarenko and veteran doubles specialist Max Mirnyi won the deciding tie breaker 10-8 over the British pairing of Andy Murray and Laura Robson. The event saw the introduction of a “champions tie-break” which replaced the deciding third set with the winners being the first team to 10 points. Otherwise matches in the singles and men’s and women’s doubles were played over 3 sets with the exception of the men’s singles final which was scheduled for five sets. The deciding set of each match was played out without a tie break.
One obvious difference between the Olympic Games and a normal Wimbledon tennis tournament was the advent of colour in the players’ clothing. The traditional all white rule for Wimbledon was lifted and players competed in national colours.
|Singles, Men||Olympic||28 July – 5 August 2012||64||34|
|Doubles, Men||Olympic||28 July – 4 August 2012||64||25|
|Singles, Women||Olympic||28 July – 5 August 2012||64||33|
|Doubles, Women||Olympic||28 July – 5 August 2012||62||21|
|Doubles, Mixed||Olympic||28 July – 5 August 2012||32||13|
|184 (95/89)||44 (37/35)|
|Singles, Men||Andy Murray||GBR||Roger Federer||SUI||Juan Martín del Potro||ARG|
|Doubles, Men||United States 2||USA||France 1||FRA||France 2||FRA|
|Singles, Women||Serena Williams||USA||Mariya Sharapova||RUS||Vika Azarenka||BLR|
|Doubles, Women||United States 2||USA||Czech Republic 2||CZE||Russian Federation 1||RUS|
|Doubles, Mixed||Belarus||BLR||Great Britain||GBR||United States 1||USA|