Meet your 2012 USA Women’s Olympic Tennis Team
July 26, 2012 · Print This Article
The 2012 Summer Olympic Games will take place in London, a city that saved the games back in 1908 by serving as a last minute host. London also hosted the games in 1948 and now, 64 years later, they will do it again.
The Summer Olympic games will officially begin on Friday, July 27th with the tennis matches going from July 28th to August 5th at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, the same venue as Wimbledon.
Mary Joe Fernandez, the USA women`s coach nominated her players including the Williams sisters, Varvara Lepchenko, Christina McHale, Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond.
Singles player, 26 year old Varvara Lepchenko, was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan was suffering economically, in the 90`s the average salaries of their citizens was around $20 per month.
Lepchenko’s hometown was no place for a growing tennis player due to the lack of training facilities and programs that she would have received in the US.
In 2001, Lepchenko’s father took her and her sister to Florida to play in a junior tournament; they ended up staying for good. Although Varvara, her sister Jane and her father, Peter, were able to apply for political asylum and remain in the US while waiting to gain citizenship, Varvara’s mother was unable to leave Uzbekistan for more than four years.
In 2011, Lepchenko was awarded American citizenship “…now I had a chance to do something great. Now I can say America is my home. I have somewhere that I belong.”
When she got word that she would be playing in the 2012 Olympics while playing in her first Wimbledon tournament, Varvara was in shock. “I am still processing this. It hasn’t sunk in. We’re all thinking that once we get there, once we go through the [opening] ceremony, that’s when we’ll finally realize that this is it.”
The Williams Sisters
Wilson spokesperson, Serena Williams, who had both her fifth Wimbledon win and a doubles trophy with her sister at the 2012 Wimbledon tournament, has proved a success story after two years of health problems and on-court meltdowns at her previous two U.S. Opens and a first-round loss at Roland Garros in May 2012.
After Serena defeated Agnieszka Radwanska for this year`s Wimbledon title, Sports Illustrated Magazine quoted a tearful Serena saying, “I never dreamed of being here again.”
It has no doubt been tough for Venus as well. The gold medalist suffered a first round loss at this year’s Wimbledon, has plunged to the 69th women`s world ranking and like her sister, suffers from health problems. Venus was diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, an auto-immune disease which left Venus with extremely low energy.
Despite her struggles, Venus Williams is about to be the first American tennis player to compete in four Olympics and plans to continue playing until the 2016 Rio Games at which point she will be 36 years old.
20 Year Old, Christina McHale of Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, has been climbing the women’s tennis ranking, currently at No. 29 and only turned pro in 2010. She made it to the third round in both the French Open and Wimbledon and most recently lost to Marion Bartoli in the Mercury Insurance Open in Carlsbad, California.
Although the young McHale might be a few years away from her prime, Chris Evert claims that she is “the most complete player.”
Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond
Doubles partners, Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond are some of the favorites to win the gold this year. Liezel Huber who did not receive a medal at either of her last two Olympic appearances is hoping that this time she will bring one home.
Huber and Raymond are ranked world number one for doubles and were the runner up team at this year’s Wimbledon where they lost to the William’s sisters.
This year will be Huber`s second time on Team USA but also played in 2000 in Sydney representing South Africa before becoming a US citizen.
38 year old Lisa Raymond is also hoping to bring home a medal saying, “There’s something missing in my trophy cabinet. For me the one thing I’m missing in my career is a medal from the Olympics. I’ve won slams, I’ve gotten the rankings, I’ve won the tournaments but to be on that podium that’s something I’ve never done, I’ve never achieved. It would probably be the greatest moment of my tennis career.”
Guest contributor, Courtney Sloan, is a college student majoring in mass media and enjoys writing about tennis news, products and fashion.