The Internation Tennis Federation (ITF) has today revealed the full list of the entrants for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro on the back of several appeals heard by the organisation. Caroline Wozniacki was one of a number of high profile names to have won their case to play at the Games, in what looks like one of the strongest ever fields in the competition's history.
Can history be made by the champions?
As both Andy Murray and Serena Williams look set to defend their titles, looking to become the first ever winners to succesfully do so, they will be hunted down by packed chasing packs that include the elite of tennis. Novak Djokovic may be still be going for the Golden Slam at that point, if he can win Wimbledon, whilst the likes of Roger Federer, Angelique Kerber and Wozniacki go in search of their first ever gold medal. Djokovic will also be hoping to break his Olympic gold medal duck, having lost in the semi finals of the singles event in London, and the first round of the doubles.
The gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics saw Andy Murray finally usurp one of the other 'big four' in a Major final, when the Brit produced one of his best ever performances to steal the gold medal from under Roger Federer's nose. Sparking the original Lendl-Murray partnership into life, the Brit went on to finally claim a grand slam in the US Open later that year.
Whilst the ageless Roger Federer will head Rio in the hopes of finally claiming the only Major title that still elludes him, a host of the younger generation will also be looking to make a name for themselves. The talented German Alexander Zverev, Borna Coric even Britain's own Kyle Edmund, assuming the Brit wins his appeal to the ITF, head to their first ever Olympic Games in a field which mixes both youth and experience.
However, there seems to be no place for the talented Austrian, Dominic Thiem, who has chosen to stick to the ATP Tour, or, as of yet, the 2008 champion, Rafael Nadal, who is also awaiting the results of an appeal to the ITF. His fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas, the American quartet of Steve Johnson, Brian Baker, Jack Sock and Brian Baker, Latvia's Ernests Gulbis, and the Argentines Juan Martin Del Potro, Juan Monaco and Guido Pella are all also waiting on permission from the ITF.
ITF rules state that for a player to participate in the Olympic Games, he or she must have met the minimum requirement in Davis/Fed Cup participation. The aforementioned players have not, or do not hold a high enough ranking to gain immediate entry.
Will anyone stop Serena?
Serena Williams' task of defending her title may have been made a whole lot easier as the 2012 silver medalist, Maria Sharapova, won't compete after her two year ban from the ITF due to the use of a banned substance during this year's Australian Open. However, despite pulling out of Wimbledon due to injury, the bronze medalist from 2012, Viktoria Azarenka, looks set to play.
The Danish flag-bearer, Caroline Wozniacki, had looked in danger of missing out altogether on the Olympics in Rio until she won her appeal today to play in her second Olympic Games.
Like the men, the ageless heads of the WTA, which also includes the 2000 champion Venus Williams, are set to be joined by a whole host of youngsters, with the likes of Madison Keys, Kristina Mladenovic and Belinda Bencic all representing their nations.
Britain will be represented by Johanna Konta, the world number 18, and Heather Watson, who lost in the second round at London 2012.
The lowest ranked players, as of the time of writing, to feature look set to be Galina Voskoboeva, the world number 458 who will represent Kazakhstan in the women's singles, and Brian Baker, should he play in the men's singles. He currently stands at 179th in the world.
There will also be full men's, women's and mixed doubles competitions. The UK will be represented by Andy Murray/Jamie Murray and Colin Fleming/Dom Inglot in the men's, Konta/Watson in the women's, and the mixed doubles will be announced in due time.
The full list of entrants can be found on the ITF website: http://www.itftennis.com/news/232270.aspx