ITF announces Olympic entrants
Originally published on: 27/06/12 00:00
After months of speculation we now know the names of the players that will make up the strongest-ever Olympic tournament. When the action gets underway at the All England Club on July 28, 19 of the world’s top 20 players will contest both the men and women’s events, which will see 48 countries represented.
The host nation boasts four women and four men at the event. Seasoned vets Anne Keothavong and Elena Baltacha were awarded two of the ITF places in the singles draw after slipping below the cut-off ranking earlier in the year. They will be joined by Fed Cup teammates Heather Watson and Laura Robson, who will make their first appearance at the Games courtesy of an ITF place in the doubles event.
World No.4 Andy Murray will lead the charge in singles for Team GB before partnering with brother Jamie in the team competition. Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins will also take their Olympic bow after their rankings assured them of a place at the Games.
The most notable absentees will be Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli and American Mardy Fish.
The Frenchwoman’s quirky court demeanor is something that we've become accustomed to seeing at SW19 but she fell short on some of the eligibility requirements. To qualify, players need to have made themselves available to play Fed Cup or Davis Cup on two occasions in the last four years but Bartoli has not represented her country since 2004 after the French Federation refused to give her permission to bring her father and coach to the ties.
“All I can control is my ranking and the way I'm playing on the court," said Bartoli. "I can't control my selection at the Olympics. So I'm trying my best on the court every time, trying to win my matches. I will be happy to play the tournaments in California with Stanford and Carlsbad and watch the Olympics on TV.”
Mardy Fish, a former Olympic silver medalist, decided to forgo an Olympic spot in favour of an early return home to prepare for the US hard court season.
South Africa’s Kevin Anderson, Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov and Austria’s Tamira Paszek won't be featuring in London either after they failed to make themselves available to represent their country in recent years.
Each nation is limited to four singles players per gender which means some notable players, who’ve met the requirements, will miss out after falling victim to the depth of talent possessed by their respective countries. They include Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Czech Republic’s Iveta Benesova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, Germany’s Mona Barthel, Spain’s Pablo Andujar, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Albert Ramos, France’s Jeremy Chardy and Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer.