With the Tokyo Olympics fast approaching, Team Great Britain and Paralympics GB have named their squads. With the event being postponed in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, the players have had extra pressure trying to qualify.
Each nation can send up to four singles players of each gender. The British Olympic Association and The British Paralympic Association jointly announced their teams.
Team GB has a fantastic record at the Olympic games, with three Olympic medals and 11 Paralympic medals to their name.
Which players have made the GB Tennis Squad?
Dan Evans, as British #1, qualified by ranking and will be going. Evans will be making his first foray into Olympic tennis having never previously been high enough to qualify. Cameron Norrie also qualified by ranking. However, the British #2 has chosen not to fly to Tokyo. Norrie enjoyed recent success both on clay courts and at Queen’s.
However, the Brit has opted to concentrate on the tour and his ranking instead of the Olympics. In a statement released by Norrie, the Brit said “While I wish I could compete in the Olympics and represent Great Britain, considering how the pandemic devastated the tennis calendar and created limited opportunities for players to move up the rankings, my team and I feel it’s best for me not to partake in this year’s Olympics.”
Kyle Edmund has been sidelined through a knee injury. Edmund is the British #3 and also would have qualified on ranking. The young Brit has had surgery on a knee injury and has recently pulled out of Wimbledon. This made the likelihood of an Olympic appearance very slim.
Andy Murray is the British #4. Obviously, due to the near-career ending hip injury, the former World #1 has slipped down the rankings. Murray was allowed to use a “special exempt” as defending champion from London 2012 and Rio 2016. Murray will be trying to win a third consecutive Olympic Gold. Current form suggests this is unlikely. However, never write off the Brit, who is still finding the way back from the hip resurfacing.
Johanna Konta will be competing at her second Olympics, having first competed in Rio. Konta progressed to the quarterfinal before being defeated by Angelique Kerber. The Brit also competed in the mixed doubles, but lost in the first round.
Heather Watson will take part in her third Olympics. Watson has not progressed beyond the second round in singles. The Brit however, did make the quarterfinals in the mixed doubles with Andy Murray as late entrants into the event.
Doubles and mixed doubles
Konta and Watson will team up for the ladies doubles.
Neal Skupski will team up with Evans for the men’s doubles. Skupski will also compete at his first Olympics. The pairing of Evans & Skupski have had reasonable success on the main circuit so was a logical choice.
Joe Salisbury is the British #1 in doubles. As such, Salisbury could effectively “pick” his partner. He chose Murray. However, not Jamie who is the doubles specialist, but Andy. Salisbury has chosen well and stated previously that he would pick Andy to play with.
Jamie Murray, as lower ranked in doubles than Skupski, misses out on the 2020 games.
As Salisbury and Watson are both Grand Slam champions in mixed, the logical choice for the British Team is this paring. Depending on results in singles and doubles, Murray may wish to opt in. Having only two leading ladies could be interesting for the mixed doubles for the Brits.
GB Tennis Squad Paralympic Tennis
Whilst naming the Olympic squad, GB also named their squad for the Paralympics that follow. Gordon Reid is the defending champion in Singles from Rio, whilst Alfie Hewett took silver. The Brits teamed up for the doubles and took the silver. Dermot Bailey will make his first appearance at the Olympics in wheelchair tennis.
Andy Lapthorne was runner up in the Quads doubles in London and singles in Rio. Lapthorne also took bronze in the doubles in 2016. Lapthorne is the sole representative in the Quads for the British team
Jordanne Whiley and Lucy Shuker are the representatives for the Brits in the womens wheelchair events. Whiley and Shuker have Bronze medals from both the previous Paralympics as they teamed up together for the doubles. They will do the same in Tokyo.
There is no mixed doubles at this stage on the cards for the delayed 2020 games.
Main Photo from Getty.