Serena leads as five Americans
earn seeds at Olympics
Ashley Marshall | August 4, 2016
When it comes to Olympic tennis, American siblings have ruled the roost for more than a decade. And while the Bryan brothers may not be in Rio to defend their doubles gold from four years ago, the Williams sisters have landed in Brazil ready to add another chapter to their sure-fire Hall of Fame legacy.
Serena enters her fourth Olympic Games as the No. 1 seed in the women’s singles competition, with Venus seeded fifth and Olympic rookie Madison Keys seventh. The Williams sisters are also the top seeds in women's doubles, where they will look to keep their undefeated record alive by winning their fourth tandem gold.
The event will be held at the Olympic Tennis Centre in Barra Olympic Park, Aug. 6-14.
The 22-time Grand Slam women's singles champion Serena will open her campaign against Australia's Daria Gavrilova, while Venus will face Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium. ADVERTISEMENT The sisters are both in the top half of the draw and could meet in the semifinals. Keys starts against Danka Kovinic of Montenegro, and Sloane Stephens – who rounds out the U.S. women's contingent – gets her Games underway against Canada's Genie Bouchard.
In the men's draw, No. 12 seed Steve Johnson plays Darian King of Barbados in the first round and 14th-seeded Jack Sock faces Taro Daniel of Japan. The other two members of the U.S. men's singles contingent will both face unseeded opponents in the opening round: Brian Baker will meet Yuichi Sugita of Japan and Denis Kudla opens against Andrej Martin of Slovakia.
In the doubles, the Williams sisters begin the defense of their gold medal against Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic, while Bethanie Mattek-Sands and CoCo Vandeweghe play Anabel Medina Garrigues and Arantxa Parra-Santonja of Spain.
Sock and Johnson, meantime, play Julio Peralta and Hans Podupnik-Castillo of Chile in Round 1 and could meet the top-seeded French duo of Pierre-Hugues and Nicolas Mahut of France in the second round. Baker and Rajeev Ram will square off against the No. 4-seeded team of Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to open their doubles campaign.
Since 2000, Team USA has won six of the 16 gold medals up for grabs in the tennis events, three times as many as Russia and Chile, which each has two. The Williams sisters are responsible for five of those wins, partnering for three doubles golds – in Sydney in 2000, Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012 – and each winning a gold medal in singles – Venus in 2000 and Serena four years ago.
The U.S.'s other gold medal over the past four Olympics came in London, when Mike and Bob Bryan stood on the top spot on the podium.
In addition, Mardy Fish won a silver medal in the men’s singles in Athens in 2004, Monica Seles won a bronze medal in women's singles in Sydney, Lisa Raymond and Mike Bryan claimed bronze in the mixed doubles in London and the Bryan brothers captured bronze in the men’s doubles in Beijing.
The U.S. will also nominate two teams in mixed doubles – which will be contested at the Olympics Games for the second time since tennis returned to the Games in 1988. The teams will be announced later in the week.