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Top tennis stories to watch in Rio

Venus and Serena Williams at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Mark J. Rebilas

Top tennis stories to watch in Rio

Here are five big tennis stories to keep an eye on at the Rio Games. 

The tennis competitions at the Rio Games will feature hundreds of storylines, but these five are the most exciting. 

  • Serena and Venus go for fourth doubles gold

Venus and Serena Williams won women's doubles gold at the London 2012 Games. Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel

Serena and Venus Williams both have more Olympic gold medals than any other tennis player ever, with four a piece. For both of them, three of those gold medals were earned together playing doubles: They won as a team in 2000, 2008 and 2012.

Who is … Venus Williams

Four-time Olympic gold medalist and former women's world number one tennis player Venus Williams will compete in her fifth Games at Rio.

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The sisters, both in their mid-30s, just won the doubles competition at Wimbledon 2016. All signs point to an historic fourth doubles gold at Rio 2016.   

Serena wins Slam no. 22 on Wimbledon day 13

With her 22nd Grand Slam victory, Serena Williams has equalled Steffi Graf's Open Era record. 

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  • A potential showdown between Djokovic and Murray

Novak Djokovic (left) and Andy Murray (right) at the 2016 French Open.

Novak Djokovic (left) and Andy Murray (right) at the 2016 French Open. Credit: Susan Mullane

Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are the two best male tennis players out there, but only one will win gold in Rio. 

Who is ... Novak Djokovic

Learn more about Serbia's Novak Djokovic, the current World No. 1 in men's singles and winner of 12 Grand Slam titles. 

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Djokovic has been the World No. 1 for just over two years. Though he first hit the top spot in July 2011, he returned as head honcho on July 7, 2014 after winning that year's Wimbledon; he's grasped that position ever since. His achievements over the past 24 months are seemingly endless: wins at five of the last eight Grand Slam tournaments, ten Masters 1000 titles, two Year-End Championships. 

Defending singles gold medalist Murray is no slouch, though. He's recently won numerous big-name tournaments, including a third Grand Slam title at this July's Wimbledon. 

Time and time again, the Briton has fallen to the Serb in key moments, such as the finals of this year's Australian Open and French Open. But Murray's Wimbledon win may provide him the momentum necessary to capture gold all over again. 


Andy Murray won gold in men's singles at the London 2012 Games.

At the most recent Olympics in London, Great Britain's Andy Murray won men's singles gold on home turf. Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel

  • Who will rise up in women’s singles?

While the men’s field has been dominated by the “Big Four” for what seems like an entirety (or, more realistically, the past 10 years), the women’s field has become frustratingly inconsistent. After winning this year’s Australian Open, Germany’s Angelique Kerber lost the next major tournament, the French Open, in the first round. Meanwhile, French Open winner Garbine Muguruza of Spain crashed out of Wimbledon in the second round. Kerber and Muguruza are still strong medal contenders for the Rio Games, but who else will rise to the occasion? 

Who is ... Angelique Kerber

The surprise winner of the 2016 Australian Open, London 2012 quarterfinalist Angelique Kerber is on a hot streak this year.

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  • Nadal and Muguruza team up for mixed doubles

Rafael Nadal won a gold medal in men's singles at the Beijing 2008 Games. Credit: Presse Sports

They’re the two of the best Spanish tennis players, but they haven’t had the opportunity to team up – until the Rio Games. 

Rafael Nadal, 30, has won 14 Grand Slam titles, and was the World No. 1 for 141 nonconsecutive weeks. In 2008, he won gold in men's singles at the Beijing Games. The current World No. 4 withdrew from the French Open and Wimbledon this year due a debilitating wrist injury, Nadal has made Rio a priority - and will even serve as his country's flag bearer in the Opening Ceremony.  

Rafael Nadal’s uncle: Garbine Muguruza to be Rio mixed doubles partner

Rafael Nadal's uncle, who coaches the tennis star, says says Garbine Muguruza will be his mixed doubles partner in Rio.

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Garbine Muguruza, 24, will make her Olympic debut at the Rio Games. She won her maiden Grand Slam title at the French Open this past June and is currently ranked World No. 3.  

With Roger Federer out of the Olympics - leaving the much-anticipated mixed team of Federer-Hingis unrealized - this may be the duo to beat in mixed doubles.   

Roger Federer pulls out of the 2016 Rio Olympics

The reigning silver medalist in men's singles will not compete at the 2016 Rio Games.

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  • Serena goes for second singles gold

Serena Williams won women's singles gold at the London 2012 Games. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas

Serena Williams has only won gold medals at the Olympics: Three in doubles (2000, 2008, 2012), and one in singles (2012). No tennis player – male or female – has ever won back-to-back gold medals in singles.

Tennis titans ride off into Olympic twilight

Tennis stars including Roger Federer and Serena Williams will likely play their last Olympic matches in Rio.

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Though she lost in the Australian Open and French Open finals, Serena won at Wimbledon. According to the Women’s Tennis Association rankings, she’s still the World No. 1 female tennis player by a fairly significant margin. She’ll almost certainly be seeded first at the Rio Games. 

There’s a good chance Serena will earn another singles gold medal in Rio. It wouldn’t be the first time she’s made sports history. 


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