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Olympic Tennis Primer: Everything You Need to Know About Paris 2024

by Pete Borkowski

February 16, 2024

It will only have been three years since the last Olympic competition when the players take to the court at Roland-Garros in July, looking to bring home gold for their nation at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

It will only have been three years since the last Olympic competition when the players take to the court at Roland-Garros in July, looking to bring home gold for their nation at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

With the Olympics fast approaching, here is a breakdown of how the competition and qualification will work at Paris 2024.

How does Olympic Tennis work?

The tennis event at the Olympics functions in mostly the same manner as any other top-level tennis tournament.

There will be five competitions: men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, and mixed doubles.

The singles draws will feature 64 players and six rounds, making it similar to a Masters/WTA 1000 event. The men’s and women’s doubles draws will include 32 teams and five rounds, while the mixed doubles will have 16 teams and just four rounds.

All matches will be best-of-three sets with a standard (first to seven) tiebreak at the end of each set, including the deciding set. For all doubles competitions, the third set will be a super (first to 10) tiebreak, again the same as a 1000-level event.

Read also: ATP and WTA Unveil New Match Scheduling Rules and Strategic Tennis Ball Review for 2024.

One difference, with it being the Olympics and three medals being awarded, is that the losing semifinalists are still required to play another match for the bronze medal.

The biggest difference between the Olympic tournament and every other tournament on the ATP and WTA tours is player eligibility.

Who is eligible to play at the Olympics?

The eligibility for the Olympics is different from regular tour events, which are based purely on rankings.

Rankings are a factor and will be based on the June 10, 2024 rankings, the first set of rankings after Roland Garros. The Top 56 players in the ATP and WTA singles rankings earn direct entry into main draw, but there are some conditions on that.

Each nation is limited to just four athletes in the singles competitions and two doubles teams. If a country has more than four athletes in the Top 56, only the top four can be selected. For example, Czechia has seven women in the Top 56 of the WTA rankings as of Feb. 12; only four can compete.

Click here to view the current ATP Rankings.

Click here to view the current WTA Rankings.

Participation in the Davis Cup or Billie Jean King Cup during the Olympic cycle, in this case since 2021, is required to be eligible for the Olympics. A player must have been nominated for and been present at a minimum of two ties/events, with at least one of those participations being in 2023 or 2024.

Milos Raonic of Canada, who has stated his desire to play at the Olympics, only recently met the Davis Cup requirements by attending each of Team Canada presented by Sobeys’ last two ties. Even though he did not play during the qualifying round in Montreal in February, his presence at the tie was enough to meet Davis Cup requirements.

If a player does not meet the Davis/Billie Jean King Cup requirements, a panel does exist to consider extenuating circumstances and may grant eligibility. Rafael Nadal is such a player who does not meet the Davis Cup requirements and would require consideration by the panel.

Read also: 2024 National Bank Open to Follow New Schedule Due to Olympics

Additionally, the final eight spots in the singles main draws will be handed out based on different criteria. Six are ITF places and will be given to the 2023 PanAm Games gold and silver medalists, the 2022 Asian Games champion and the 2023 African Games (which will be played in March 2024) champion, with two spots remaining for a former gold medalist and/or Grand Slam singles champion provided they are currently ranked inside teh Top 400.

The players who have earned ITF places for winning continental competitions are:

  • Facundo Diez Acosta (ARG – PanAm Games Champion)
  • Tomas Barrios Vera (CHI – PanAm Games Runner-Up)
  • Laura Pigossi (BRA – PanAm Games Champion)
  • Maria Lourdes Carle (ARG – PanAm Games Runner-Up)
  • Zhizhen Zhang (CHN – Asian Games Champion)*
  • Qinwen Zheng (CHN – Asian Games Champion)*

*Zhang and Zheng are both currently ranked in the Top 56 and would not require an ITF place to compete

Former Grand Slam singles champions and Olympic gold medalists who could be eligible for ones of those spots includes:

  • Marin Cilic (CRO)*
  • Angelique Kerber (GER)*
  • Naomi Osaka (JPN)
  • Rafael Nadal (ESP)*
  • Stan Wawrinka (SUI)
  • Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)

*Nadal, Cilic, and Kerber may need to use their protected ranking as they are currently outside the Top 400 as of Feb. 12, 2024.

Andy Murray, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time major champion, is currently teetering on the edge of needing an ITF place as he is ranked No. 50 on the ATP Tour as of Feb. 12.

The final spot is a “universality place,” which National Olympic Committees are eligible to apply for. The deadline to apply was Jan. 15 and a commission will allocate the spot.

For doubles, players in the Top 10 of the doubles ranking receive direct entrance as long as their partner is ranked inside the Top 300. After that, places are determined based on the combined rankings of the two members of the team.

Mixed doubles will be based on the combined ranking of the two players.

In each draw, the host nation, in this case France, receives one additional spot.

Across all five competitions, a country can send no more than six men and six women. Final nominations for the Olympics will be determined by the Tennis Canada Olympic Selection Committee.

Click here to view the current eligibility status for Canadian players.

The ATP's best return to Montreal next summer for the National Bank Open August 3 to 12, 2024 at IGA Stadium. 2024 Tickets are on sale. Get your tickets today!

The WTA's best return to Toronto next summer for the National Bank Open August 4 to 12, 2024 at Sobeys Stadium. 2024 Tickets are on sale. Get your tickets today!