Notable Olympic Tennis Champions

Exceptional Tennis Players at the Olympics

Tennis player swinging racket at ball on court
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Tennis takes center stage every four years at the Olympic games, and the players of the game continue to set all sorts of records on the medal podiums. Perhaps even more interesting are the stories of how these Olympic tennis champions make it to the Games in order to compete for such high honors. They work hard and sacrifice a lot to get into the top spots for this sport, which continues to glue audiences to televisions across the globe.

Tennis at the Olympic Games

The sport has evolved since it first became a competitive sport at the Summer Olympics that were held in 1896 in Athens. Interestingly, it has been part of the lineup since the first Olympic Games with the exception of a few decades. During that first Olympic event, only men were playing the game. Singles and doubles were the only tournaments featured. It wasn't until 1900 that women were allowed to compete in the singles event, as well as mixed doubles. 

Today when we see tennis matches captivating audiences, we may not know that it wasn't always the case. Between 1928 and 1988—that's right, for 60 years—it was not an Olympic sport. The sport was reinstated as a medalled Olympic sport in 1988. And it has really taken off since that time.

One of the most notable Olympic tennis champions is Venus Williams. She has won four gold medals in the sport, as well as one silver medal. Along with Kathleen McKane Godfree (who nabbed one gold medal, two silver medals, and two bronze medals), the two hold all-time records for getting the most medals in the game. Serena Williams, Venus' sister, won a record four gold medals in the sport. As for male Olympic tennis champions, Andy Murray has also been in the spotlight for winning two medals in the singles tournaments, including a gold medal in the 2016 games.

That same year, Monica Puig won the women's singles medal. The Williams sisters, along with Murray, hold the highest number of medals.

Dominant Players

Americans and British players have dominated the sport; eight Americans and seven British players have won two or more gold medals in tennis tournaments at the Olympics. They aren't the only countries that have earned champion status in the sport, though -- other countries including France, Spain, Russia, and South Africa, have also achieved the high honor.

At the Summer 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina won the match against the Swiss team, which consisted of Martina Hingis and Timea Bacsinkszky and took the gold medal in women's doubles. Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Jack Sock from the United States beat out Venus Williams and Rajeev Ram on the mixed doubles podium.