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British players awarded Olympic wild cards

Jamie Murray and Eric Butorac high five eachother during their opening round doubles match.
Tuesday 26 June 2012

The London 2012 Olympics will feature a host of British tennis players after the final wild cards for the Olympic tennis event were announced. 

Elena Baltacha and Anne Keothavong have been awarded ITF places into the women's singles competition, while Heather Watson and Laura Robson have been awarded an ITF place into the women's doubles competition. 

Andy and Jamie Murray, meanwhile, qualified for the men's doubles competition on ranking, as did Colin Fleming and Ken Skupski. 

Other notable ITF places for the Olympic tennis were awarded to Lleyton Hewitt, former Wimbledon champion, and 

Sixty-four players will contest both the men’s and women’s singles. In the men’s singles, there are 56 direct acceptances and eight ITF Places; while in the women’s singles, there are 56 direct
acceptances, six ITF Places and two Tripartite Commission Invitation Places. All players must also have received an official nomination from their National Olympic Committee and have met the qualification criteria set by the ITF and approved by the International Olympic Committee.

Direct acceptances were based on the singles world rankings of 11 June 2012, with a limit of four singles players per gender per country. Nations were also able to nominate up to two doubles
teams per event, with a maximum of six players per gender per country in total.

Thirty-two teams will contest both the men’s and women’s doubles, with 24 direct acceptances and eight ITF Places in both events. Direct acceptances were based on the combined world rankings of each team on 11 June, with each player using the better of their singles and doubles world ranking. Any player ranked in the doubles Top 10 on 11 June was eligible for direct acceptance with a partner of any ranking.

Mixed doubles will be included in the 2012 Olympic Tennis Event for the first time since 1924. Entries for the 16-team event will be determined on site from those players already participating in singles or doubles. Teams have to be nominated by their National Olympic Committee by 31 July. There will be 12 direct acceptances based on the combined world rankings of each team on 11 June, and four ITF Places.

ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “We are delighted to see the strongest ever field in the history of the Olympic Tennis Event. Since tennis’s return to the Olympics in 1988, the event has continued to grow at each Games, with the current generation of players all embracing this unique opportunity to represent their country in individual competition. The All England Club will provide an iconic backdrop for the event and we expect that the competition in each discipline will be fierce.”

Tennis was a part of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. The first woman to win an Olympic medal in any sport was tennis player Charlotte Cooper (GBR) at the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris. After the 1924 Paris Games, tennis withdrew from the Olympics but returned as a demonstration event at 1984 Los Angeles and as a full medal sport at 1988 Seoul.

The All England Club previously staged the Olympic Tennis Event in 1908 at its old site in Worple Road. This is the first event to be held on grass since tennis’s return as a full-medal sport.

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