I’m an Olympics fanatic. I will watch volleyball, synchronized swimming, weight lifting, gymnastics. . .anything. If it’s an Olympic sport, I’m watching it. With tennis in the mix, it can get damn overwhelming. I know it’s a month away (yes, we still have Rogers Cup and Cincinnati to get through) but it’s never too early to start planning for the action in Beijing.
More after the jump…
Marcos Baghdatis (wrist injury)
Mario Ancic (mono again!)
Ivo Karlovic (stomach)
Ivan Ljubicic (out of the singles with back injury, but will try to play dubs)
Andy Roddick (US Open obsession, fiancee)
Mardy Fish (fiancee and a silver medal in 2004)
Richard Gasquet (no surprise, really)
Fernando Verdasco (damn you, Tommy Robredo!)
Marat Safin (good looks and a good Wimby run aren’t enough)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (knee surgery – boo hoo!)
Ana Chakvetadze (can’t be bothered)
Amelie Mauresmo (pissed to be left off the singles roster – not a team player, I’m guessing?)
Marion Bartoli (limited participation in Fed Cup/uncozy status with French Federation)
Jelena Jankovic (on the fence as with a calf injury)
Ana Ivanovic (out with a thumb injury)
Maria Sharapova (shoulder injury – replaced with Vera Zvonareva)
Lindsay Davenport (pulling from singles with a knee injury, still on for dubs)
Tatiana Golovin (back)
WHO’S ON TEAM USA:
Blake, Querrey and Ginepri are playing singles with the Bryan brothers coming in for doubles. Blake and Querrey will form the second doubles team.
The Williams sisters and Jill Craybas (a last minute substitution for Tamira Paszek of Austria – I don’t get this subbing thing, but whatever) with Lindsay Davenport (who won the Gold in Atlanta, 1996) and Liezel Huber playing doubles. Huber played for her native South Africa in the Sydney games, but is now a U.S. citizen.
The ITF granted special entry, despite their low rankings, to the following 12 players:
Kevin Anderson, South Africa
Jonas Bjorkman, Sweden
Nicolas Massu, Chile (deserving enough?)
Max Mirnyi, Belarus
Kei Nishikori, Japan
Peng Sun, China
Chan Yung-jan, Taiwan
Maria Koryttseva, Ukraine
Nuria Llagostera-Vives, Spain
Alicia Molik, Australia
Ayumi Morita, Japan
Selima Sfar, Tunisia
Think of it like a wacky Masters Series or Tier 1 tournament, with a much smaller draw than the Slams and play on consecutive days, or worse, since almost all the singles players are also in the dubs. The singles draws consist of 56 players, with the top eight seeds granted first-round byes. A maximum of 4 players (that’s 4 men and 4 women) are allowed from each nation. The doubles draws consist of 32 teams, with a maximum of two teams per nation. Countrymen and women won’t be placed in the same quarter of the draw.
Sunday, August 10th – Sunday, August 17
Click here to see when each round will be played and when each medal will be given.
BUT WHEN, ON T.V.?
Beijing’s Olympic Green Tennis Center
“The flower-shaped Olympic Green Tennis Center is meticulously designed for natural ventilation to ensure the quality of the competitions for athletes and spectators.
The center’s three main courts are dodecagonal with each of the 12 sides as a stands. The gray cement walls around each of the 12 sections form 12 stands which look like 12 petals of a lotus flower in the Olympic Forest Park.
With 10 competition courts, the venue covers a surface area of 16.68 hectares and has a building area of 26,514 square meters. The venue has a capacity of 17,400 seats, including 10,000 seats in the main court; 4,000 seats in the No. 1 cour; 2,000 seats in the No. 2 court; and 1,400 seats in the seven preliminary competition courts at the No. 2 platform.”
Click here for more on the facility from the Beijing 2008 website.
For honor and glory, of course! (But don’t expect a Wheaties box.)
“I don’t know how I did it.” – Nicolas Massu, on how he won gold medals in both the doubles and singles at the 2004 Olympics. Both matches went five sets and were played with only a thirteen hour gap between them (the singles came after the doubles!)
STAY TUNED FOR MORE ON BEIJING!
(The image of YingYing, cute tennis “Fuwa” was found on Women’s Tennis Blog. Click here for more info.)