© Ella Ling

Miami 2012 - Federer with fans 2

Top 10 Olympic tennis stories


Steffi Graf’s golden slam. It is the dream of all tennis players to win one slam, one victory that forever etches your name in the history books. Some dream bigger. In 1988, a young West German, Steffi Graf, coined a new term in tennis: the Golden Slam. In winning all four majors and a gold in Seoul, Graf still stands on her own as the only tennis player to complete the mammoth feat.

Roger Federer’s Olympic gold. Despite missing out on singles gold at the 2008 Beijing Games, Federer looked to his Swiss compatriot Stan Wawrinka in search of Olympic glory. In a pulsating match against the American twins Bob and Mike Bryan, Wawrinka played out of his skin to help the Swiss pair to emerge victorious, prompting Federer to fan Stan the Man’s ‘heat’ as he lay on the court.

Greatest ever tennis holiday. Tennis was one of the original nine Olympic sports at Athens 1896, and Ireland’s John Boland, on holiday in the city at the time, was entered in the tennis by a Greek friend. Boland became the first tennis Olympic champion. He also won the doubles – with a German partner.

Immortality for Andre Agassi. In the run up to his 1996 gold medal performance at the Atlanta Olympics, some wondered whether the former world number one could ever return to the top of his game. He answered that question in Atlanta, saying afterwards: “To win a gold medal is what it’s all about. I’d keep this over all of them.”

Justin Henin’s most remarkable performance. The Athens games of 2004 couldn’t have come at a worse time for Justin Henin. In the middle of her bout with the cytomegalovirus that kept her out of action for the four months prior to Athens and the season thereafter, Henin put together – debatably – the most remarkable performance of her career. Surviving a 5-1, third-set deficit against Anastasia Myskina in the semi-final, the Belgian took out Mauresmo for the gold. It was only later, once the full truth about her illness was revealed, that we could appreciate just how astonishing the victory was.

Nicolas Massu’s double. Massu became Chile’s first ever gold medallist by beating Mardy Fish in five sets. He then won another gold, partnering Fernando Gonzalez in the doubles, to become the first man to sweep both golds since the 1920s.

Venus Williams scores two golds in Sydney. At the 2000 Games, Williams won the singles title and then the doubles gold with her younger sister Serena.

Jennifer Capriati wins gold at 16. The American was still a teenager when she won the singles gold at the 1992 Barcelona Games by beating Steffi Graf.

The 1984 Los Angeles demonstration tournament. Four years before tennis became an official medal sport again, it was a demonstration, non-medal, sport in LA. The winners that convinced the sport was worthy of Olympic status? A 15-year old Steffi Graf of West Germany, before she won her twenty-two grand slams, and a fresh-faced 18-year old Swede called Stefan Edberg.

The Murray brothers. The relationship between siblings can be strained at the best of times – try sharing a tennis court with your brother in a quest for an Olympic medal. Neither Andy nor Jamie Murray could reach their best as they were beaten by the experienced French pair of Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra in the second round of the Beijing Games. The British pair were seen exchanging words on court afterwards.

  • Sam

    The Murray brothers but not Rafa’s gold? And Rafa’s gold was in singles unlike Rogers. 

  • ILJH

    Justine Henin is indeed remarkable!!!