Tennis

Facts

Discipline of Tennis
Participants 1223
NOCs 93
Competitions held 66 (Venues)
Distinct events 20
IF International Tennis Federation

Description

Tennis, originally lawn tennis, was invented by Major Walter Wingfield, a British army officer, in 1873. The original name was “sphairistike”. However, tennis variants are much older than that. Court tennis, or royal tennis, real tennis, or jeu de paume, was known to have been played in the Middle Ages.

Tennis was contested at every Olympic Games from 1896 through 1924 as a regular medal sport. It was then discontinued although it was on the schedule as a demonstration sport in 1968 and 1984. The reasons for dropping tennis as an Olympic sport probably were two: the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was upset that many of the top tennis players, though considered amateurs, infringed upon its strict definition of amateurism; and the tennis establishment, especially in Great Britain, was concerned that the Olympic events might become more important than Wimbledon, and did not wish that to occur.

Tennis returned to the Olympics as a full medal sport in 1988, as it became possible for full-scale professionals to the Olympics, with no other restrictions. Still, not all top players attend the Olympic Games, as they consider it of lesser importance, or find it interfering with their preparation for the U.S. Open Grand Slam tournament, which is usually held near the same time period.

There have recently been four Olympic events, singles and doubles for both men and women, while mixed doubles was held in London 2012 for the first time since 1924. The governing body of the sport is the International Tennis Federation (ITF), previously known as International Lawn Tennis Federation (ILTF), which was founded on 1 March 1913 in Paris, with twelve founding mermbers: Australasia (Australia and New Zealand), Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. As of 2018 the ITF has 211 members.

All-time medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
United States USA 21 6 12 39
Great Britain GBR 17 14 12 43
France FRA 5 6 8 19
Russian Federation RUS 3 3 2 8
South Africa RSA 3 2 1 6
Spain ESP 2 7 3 12
Germany GER 2 6 2 10
Switzerland SUI 2 2 0 4
Chile CHI 2 1 1 4
Mixed team MIX 1 2 3 6
Australia AUS 1 1 3 5
Czechoslovakia TCH 1 1 2 4
Belarus BLR 1 0 1 2
Belgium BEL 1 0 1 2
People's Republic of China CHN 1 0 1 2
West Germany FRG 1 0 1 2
Canada CAN 1 0 0 1
Puerto Rico PUR 1 0 0 1
Sweden SWE 0 3 5 8
Czech Republic CZE 0 2 4 6
Argentina ARG 0 2 3 5
Greece GRE 0 2 1 3
Japan JPN 0 2 1 3
Netherlands NED 0 1 1 2
Austria AUT 0 1 0 1
Denmark DEN 0 1 0 1
Romania ROU 0 1 0 1
Croatia CRO 0 0 3 3
Unified Team EUN 0 0 2 2
Australasia ANZ 0 0 1 1
Bohemia BOH 0 0 1 1
Bulgaria BUL 0 0 1 1
Hungary HUN 0 0 1 1
India IND 0 0 1 1
Italy ITA 0 0 1 1
Norway NOR 0 0 1 1
Serbia SRB 0 0 1 1

Most successful competitors

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Venus Williams USA 4 1 0 5
Serena Williams USA 4 0 0 4
Reggie Doherty GBR 3 0 1 4
Vinnie Richards USA 2 1 0 3
Andy Murray GBR 2 1 0 3
Laurie Doherty GBR 2 0 1 3
Suzanne Lenglen FRA 2 0 1 3
Charles Winslow RSA 2 0 1 3
Mary Joe Fernandez USA 2 0 1 3
André Gobert FRA 2 0 0 2
Charlotte Cooper GBR 2 0 0 2
Edith Hannam GBR 2 0 0 2
John Pius Boland GBR 2 0 0 2
Arthur Wentworth Gore GBR 2 0 0 2
Gigi Fernandez PUR
USA
2 0 0 2
Hazel Wightman USA 2 0 0 2
Helen Wills USA 2 0 0 2
Beals Wright USA 2 0 0 2
Nicolás Massú CHI 2 0 0 2
Rafael Nadal ESP 2 0 0 2

Event types

Name Gender Still contested? Times held?
Singles Men 21
Doubles Men 19
Singles Women 17
Doubles Women 12
Doubles Mixed 9
Singles Boys 3
Doubles Boys 2
Singles Girls 2
Doubles Girls 2
Doubles Mixed Youth 1
Singles, Covered Courts Men 2
Doubles, Covered Courts Men 2
Singles, Handicap Men 2
Doubles, Handicap Men 2
Singles, Professionals Men 1
Doubles, Professionals, Handicap Men 1
Singles, Covered Courts Women 2
Singles, Handicap Women 1
Doubles, Handicap Mixed 1
Doubles, Covered Courts Mixed 1