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USTA FL Friday Blog: Serena to Set Record? Olympic TV Tennis

July 27, 2012 08:42 AM
The Friday USTA Florida blog is written by USTA Florida Communications Coordinator Rick Vach, and guest USTA Florida staff.

Serena Williams on Olympic Cusp of Never-before Achieved Title

Venus and Serena Williams during a practice session ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon (photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Florida's Serena Williams wasn't even aware that during the next two weeks at the London Olympics she could achieve a landmark no other professional player in the Open Era has reached -- winning all four Grand Slam titles in a career, along with both gold in singles and doubles at the Olympics.

"I don't think I knew that," said the Palm Beach Gardens' resident. "Thanks. No pressure."

The 31-year-old is coming off her fifth Wimbledon singles title, and is a resounding favorite back again on the lawns to capture her first gold medal in singles. No player has in a career won all four Slams, and Olympic gold in singles and doubles -- but many have come close.

Steffi Graf won the "Golden Slam" in 1988, all four Slam titles and the Olympic singles gold in Seoul. Her husband, Andre Agassi (don't dare call him Mr. Steffi Graf, even though his wife has more Slam titles), in his career also won all four Slams and Olympic singles gold in Atlanta in 1996, but there is no Olympic doubles gold in the Agassi/Graf family.

Serena's sister Venus has won Olympic gold in singles and doubles, but has never raised the trophy at either the Australian Open or at Roland Garros.

All eyes won't be only on Serena, as Roger Federer can also complete the never-before-achieved feat by winning singles gold. He has all four Slams under his belt, and won Olympic gold in doubles with Swiss countryman Stan Wawrinka at the last Olympics.

"It's great just to be here and to represent our country," Serena said, trying to temper the hype. "The important thing is to do the best I can for the U.S."

The Olympic tennis event will begin on Saturday, following tonight's opening ceremonies in London. The Olympic seeding criteria used by the International Tennis Federation has somehow left the Williams sisters, who are the defending Olympic champions and recently won Wimbledon, unseeded in the women's doubles event.

Over at the Miami New Times Blog, Francisco Alvarado profiles South Florida athletes to keep track of during the Olympic games, including Venus and Serena Williams.

"The sibling tennis stars are also part owners of the Miami Dolphins," he writes. "They enter the 2012 games as two-time defending doubles champs. Both will also be competing in singles competition, where Venus captured gold in 2000. With the tennis matches being held at the All England club, which hosts Wimbledon each sumer, the Williams' sisters should kick a**."


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TENNIS ON TV -- Let the Games Begin

At the ATP Farmer's Classic in LA yesterday, unseeded American "Iron" Mike Russell ousted top seed Benoit Paire 7-5, 6-4. He'll today face Australian and No. 6 seed Marinko Matosevic. Also still alive are Americans Sam Querrey and Rajeev Ram. In the quarters today the No. 2-seeded Querrey meets the No. 5 seed Xavier Malisse, and Ram faces No. 3 seed Leonardo Mayer of Argentina.

If the star quality looks kinda thin in LA, remember, everyone is at the Olympics.

LA singles coverage on TV this weekend is Friday 5-9 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. on Tennis Channel, Saturday 4-6 p.m. and 10 p.m.-midnight on ESPN2, and Sunday 4-6 p.m. on ESPN2.

London-Olympics_8When you wake up Saturday morning you can catch Olympic tennis on the Bravo channel in the U.S. Saturday matches of note on court will be Serena Williams vs. Jelena Jankovic, Roger Federer vs. Alejandro Falla, David Nalbandian vs. Janko Tipsarevic, John Isner vs. Olivier Rochus, Christina McHale vs. Ana Ivanovic, and Ryan Harrison, Donald Young, and in doubles Isner/Andy Roddick and the Bryan brothers also in action for the U.S.






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