Ten things you should know about the sport's foray onto the international stage.
Tennis was absent from the Olympic games for 64 years from the 1924 Games in Paris until the '88 Games in Seoul due to a dispute between the ITF and IOC over amateurism.
All matches will be best-of-three sets, except for the men's final, which will be best-of-five. If a third set is needed in mixed doubles it will be decided with a super tiebreaker (first team to 10 points with at least a two-point lead).
Steffi Graf completed her "Golden Slam" by winning gold for Germany in Seoul in 1988 to go along with her four majors that year. Four years ealier in Los Angeles when tennis was a demonstration sort for players under 21 years of age, Graf, 15, also won gold. Sweden's Stefan Edberg won gold that year for the men.
Mixed doubles will be an official Olympic event for the first time since 1924, meaning that a record 172 players are expected to compete in the five medal events this year.
Tennis was one of the original nine sports in the modern Olympic Games held in Athens in 1896. The other eight: Artistic Gymnastics, Athletics, Cycling (Road & Track), Fencing, Shooting, Swimming, Weightlifting, Greco-Roman Wrestling.
The record for the fewest games played in a gold medal match is 14, set by Venus and Serena Williams in women's doubles in 2000 (they defeated Belgium, 6-1, 6-1). They matched their own record in 2008 when they beat Spain for gold, 6-2, 6-0.
The top 56 players in the ATP and WTA rankings (as of June 11, 2012) qualify for the singles tournaments. However, each country is limited to four players. If a player qualifies by ranking, but represents a country with four higher-ranked players, he or she will not receive entry.
The United States has won 10 of the 24 gold medals in tennis since the sport was reintroduced in 1988—no other country has won more than two. The U.S. has also won the most overall Olympic tennis medals since 1988 with 17, followed by Spain with 11, then Germany and Russia with seven each.
Since tennis was reintroduced in 1988, the United States has won five of a possible six gold medals in women's doubles. The U.S. failed to medal in 2004 in Athens.
Since becoming an Olympic sport again in 1988, three of the six men's gold medal winners—Miroslav Mecir (1988), Marc Rosset (1992), and Nicolas Massu (2004)—never won a Grand Slam title. Elena Dementieva (2008) is the only woman to win singles gold without owning a Grand Slam title.
Originally published in the July/August 2012 issue of TENNIS.