Last Updated: July 26, 2011 4:43pm
Andy Murray seems set to represent Great Britain in London
One of Britain's most iconic sporting venues will be on show at the London Olympics as the All England Club hosts the tennis events at the Games.
Just 20 days after the conclusion of Wimbledon, the biggest names in the sport are set to return to SW19 for the unique opportunity of playing for an Olympic gold medal on the famous grass courts.
Five medal events will be contested from July 28 (the day after the opening ceremony) to August 5: men's and women's singles as well as men's, women's and mixed doubles.
The men's and women's singles will be a straight knockout competition between 64 players over a total of six rounds, with both finals taking place on Centre Court.
The men's and women's doubles will feature 32 pairs over five rounds, with the mixed doubles involving 16 pairs over four rounds.
The vast majority of matches will be best of three sets, with only the men's singles final decided out of five, and a match tie-breaker being used in the third set of mixed doubles matches.
Tennis was one of the original events of the modern Summer Olympics, with men's singles events being contested at Athens 1896 and women's events being added in the proceeding early Olympiads.
At the London Olympics of 1908, both indoor tennis and jeu de paume (real tennis) were included as separate medal events, only to fade off the schedule in subsequent years.
Indeed, tennis itself was to be dropped from the Olympics after Paris 1924 due to difficulties arising over the definition of amateurism within the game.
It would return as a demonstration event in 1968 and again in 1984 but medals would not be awarded again until the Seoul Olympics of 1988 as amateurism was being phased out of the Games. London will mark return of mixed doubles for the first time since 1924, however.
Although it still lags behind the four grand slam tournaments, Olympic gold medals continue to grow in prestige within the tennis world.
Steffi Graf completed the 'Golden Slam' in 1988
Steffi Graf completed one of the most impressive sporting achievements in history by completing the 'Golden Slam' - all four grand slams plus the Olympics in a single year - on tennis' reintroduction in 1988.
American superstars Jennifer Capriati, Lindsay Davenport and Venus Williams followed in her footsteps by taking the next three gold medals, with Justine Henin and Elena Dementieva rounding off the star-studded list.
Men's winners tended not to reflect the dominant players of the time at first, but that has changed in recent editions with the likes of Andre Agassi, Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Rafael Nadal winning gold medals.
Champions such as Marc Rosset and Nicolas Massu show it can be a tournament for outsiders, though.
Chilean Massu is the only man to have won singles and doubles gold at the same Olympics since 1988, while Venus Williams, who has won two doubles golds alongside sister Serena, did the same on the women's side at Sydney 2000.
The qualifying format for the tournament has not been confirmed yet, but Andy Murray would seem certain to make it bar a dramatic tumble down the rankings.
Murray, who will be 25 at the time of the London Olympics, has shown good pedigree at Wimbledon in reaching the semi-finals twice and has also been to two grand slam finals, although he lost both times.
But the next best ranked British male player is currently James Ward, who is outside the top 200, so Murray may be the only automatic qualifier in the 64-man draw.
On the women's side, Elena Baltacha and Anne Keothavong will be hoping to climb into a qualifying position in time for the Games, while young prospects Heather Watson and Laura Robson, who will be 20 and 18 respectively at the Olympics, may have made a breakthrough into the top 50 by then.
Teams of mixed nationality were allowed to compete in the doubles in early Olympiads. In Athens 1896, Irish-born John Pius Boland - representing Britain - won gold with Friedrich Traun - a German.
If the ranking situation has not improved, Britain will hope for wild card entries from the ITF to bolster their representation.
Rafael Nadal: The Spaniard will be aiming to become the first ever player - male or female - to win two separate Olympic gold medals in the singles. Already a two-time champion at the All England Club, Nadal's grass-court pedigree and the fact that he still has youth on his side makes him an early favourite for the title in 2012.
Kim Clijsters: Hopes of a possible doubles pairing of Clijsters and fellow Belgian Justine Henin seem to be gone after the latter's second retirement, but the double Wimbledon semi-finalist still has the singles to focus on. Clijsters has hinted that 2012 could be her last year and winning at Wimbledon - one of the few things she is yet to achieve in tennis - would be a perfect send off.
DOB: 17/5/1956 Event: Boxing Medals: 1 gold Flag: USA
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