The International Tennis Federation and ATP have announced that ranking points for men will be awarded at the 2008 Olympic Tennis Event in Beijing, as they were at Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004.
The following entry criteria for the 2008 Olympic Tennis Event will now be used in both the men’s and women’s competitions:
The official world rankings will be used as the basis for determining the top 56 direct acceptances in the 64-player singles draw, subject to limitations outlined below as well as existing eligibility requirements.
Depending on the singles rankings of their players, nations can be eligible for up to four entries into the singles and up to two doubles teams. A top-10 ranked doubles player is eligible to receive an automatic entry if nominated assuming a qualified partner. By virtue of this agreement, the maximum number of players on-site per gender and per country is raised from four to six.
Six of the additional eight singles places will be selected by the ITF’s Olympic Committee taking into consideration the geographic distribution of nations entered and a player’s singles computer ranking, as well as two Tripartite Commission Invitations decided by the IOC, National Olympic Committees and the ITF.
ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said, “This is an important step forward for the 2008 Olympic Tennis event. The ATP led the way at Sydney 2000, awarding ranking points for the Olympics for the first time. Thanks to Etienne de Villiers and the Board of the ATP Tour for their support of the Olympic Tennis Event. This, combined with our existing arrangement with the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, means that the 2008 Olympic Tennis Event will have the best quality field possible.”
“The Olympic Games remain an integral part of our sport’s great story and are a welcome addition to this year’s calendar,” said Etienne de Villiers, ATP Executive Chairman. “We are delighted to award South African Airways ATP ranking points for this summer’s Beijing Olympics and look forward to a wonderful eight days of competition.”
The Olympic Tennis Event will be played from Sunday, 10 August, through Sunday, 17 August, 2008 at the new Olympic Tennis Center in Beijing, China.
The competition will include men’s and women’s singles (64 draws) and men’s and women’s doubles (32 draws). The 2004 Olympic gold medallists were Nicolas Massu (CHI), Justine Henin (BEL), Fernando Gonzalez/Nicolas Massu (CHI) and Ting Li/Tian Tian Sun (CHN). Tennis was a part of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.
The first woman to win an Olympic medal in any sport was tennis player Charlotte Cooper (GBR) at the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris. After the 1924 Paris Games, tennis withdrew from the Olympics but returned as a demonstration event in 1984 Los Angeles and returned as a full medal sport in 1988 Seoul.