Originally written on The Sports Headquarters  |  Last updated 7/23/12

A lot of the same general preview can be given for the men and women, so if you didn’t see our preview for the two men’s events you can see it here. Of course, the women’s matches are best-of-3 all the way throughout the tournament, just like at the Slams and every other tournament. So with nothing else to get out of the way, let’s jump straight in to our main storylines.

Women’s Singles:

1. Serena’s to lose- Serena Williams played a very high level of tennis as the week progressed at Wimbledon. It was a level that almost no other woman on tour right now can come close to matching. If Serena can do that for six more matches, the gold is hers to lose. It won’t be easy. Staying that confident and keeping your concentration for six entire matches is no easy feat. Still, this is in her hands. If she plays the absolute best she can, no one is touching her.

2. Bartoli’s absence- Very rarely do the ITF and FFT rules about Davis Cup and Fed Cup participation being a prerequisite to compete in the Olympics actually matter. Usually it just means that top players make sure they play Davis or Fed Cup the necessary 2 times. But Marion Bartoli won’t do it. She hasn’t played Fed Cup since 2004 due to an argument about coaching. Thus, a top 10 player and former Wimbledon finalist will not be competing in this year’s Olympic Games. France got a Wild Card for Alize Cornet, but she will not do nearly as well as Bartoli could have. It’s unfortunate, really, as Bartoli brought this entirely on herself. Still, we should watch in the future if top players will be willing to miss the Olympics over Fed Cup after Bartoli will sit this year out.

3. Can a Brit step up- Great Britain has 2 entrants in this tournament, though none of them really seem like contenders. None of their players were in the top 56 to qualify automatically, though two were fairly close and received Wild Cards. It’s a bit of a pity, actually. Keothavong and Baltacha might be the more consistent and higher-ranked players, but I kind of wish that the two Brits to receive Wild Cards were Heather Watson and Laura Robson. Those two youngsters have much more potential and are more exciting. The pair of teenagers (okay, okay, Watson did turn 20 a few months ago) will be competing together in doubles, though, and hopefully can impress their country in that competition.

Women’s Doubles:

1. Can the Williams 3-peat- Yes, I know it’s not a real 3-peat. The sisters won the gold both times they have competed at the Games, in 2000 and 2008. Serena was forced to miss the 2004 Olympics with a knee injury. Because of that, Venus paired up with Chanda Rubin for doubles and the American pair lost in the first round. Serena is back and healthy, and while Venus no longer is the force she once was in singles, the pair did just win their fifth Wimbledon doubles title. And while there are other good teams out there, their third Olympic Gold as a team is in their hands to lose. They are the best women’s doubles team in the world when their games are on. And for the Olympics, there’s no reason to think they won’t be.

2. Watch the home youngsters- As mentioned above, Laura Robson and Heather Watson received an ITF Wild Card to compete in the doubles at the Olympics. The pair of dynamic youngsters certainly give British tennis a bright future. The pair teamed up for doubles in 4 grass tournaments this year, clearly to prepare for the Olympics. They reached the final in Nottingham together (a Challenger event) but only won 1 match in their three tour-level doubles matches. Still, they are an exciting pair and should be good hometown hopefuls to watch.

3. Beware the Germans- What could it take to bring down the Williams sisters? Well, two top 10 players teaming up could do it. To be fair, the Germans don’t quite have that as Sabine Lisicki is currently World #17, but she is a very clear top 10 player and would probably already be ranked that high if not for injuries. She is teaming up with Angelique Kerber, a player who has really picked things up in Grand Slams recently. The two both reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon a few weeks ago and both have pretty good grass games. They can also both play good power tennis, which will help them on the doubles court. They are definitely a team to watch out for after the Americans.

Mixed Doubles:

It’s really hard to preview the mixed doubles tournament as we don’t yet know who will play. The entry list will be announced after the Olympics begin. There was a great article published a little over a week ago here discussing the possibilities. Mostly, it means that top doubles players will try and grab a partner from the same country and make it work. The biggest storyline is the question of whether or not Andy Roddick and Serena Williams will team up to play together. And, if they do, which one of the Bryan brothers will be pushed out since each country can only have a maximum of two teams.

Make sure to check out all of our continuing Olympic previews and our coverage during the Games themselves here at TSHQ by following this link.


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