Insight: How to qualify for Paris Olympics tennis 2024?

Tennis News
Wednesday, 19 June 2024 at 02:08
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Less than a week remains until the entry list for the Paris Olympics 2024 is revealed, with qualifying positions already determined. Confirmation is still pending for all ATP and WTA players, with some withdrawals already announced such as Aryna Sabalenka, Emma Raducanu, Ons Jabeur, and Ben Shelton.
There are several ways for players to qualify, primarily through ranking, although some have achieved special qualifications. The Olympics will be played on the clay courts of Roland Garros starting July 26th, and we'll explain how players qualify to compete for an Olympic medal.

How do tennis players qualify for the Olympics?

As a general rule, players must meet certain minimum requirements to participate in the tournament. Men must be over 14 years old and women over 15 years old, and they must have represented their Billie Jean King Cup or Davis Cup team at least twice during the last two years. In case these requirements are not met, an exemption can be requested from the ITF Olympic Committee.
The tournament draw will feature 64 players, meaning the champion must win six consecutive matches to claim the gold medal. Each country can nominate a maximum of 12 players: 6 male and 6 female. However, only 4 players per team can participate in the singles draw and a maximum of two teams in the doubles draw.
The top 56 players in the ATP ranking as of June 10th will qualify, which is after the conclusion of the recent French Open. However, it must be considered that only four players per nation can compete in singles, so players like Christopher Eubanks or Flavio Cobolli do not qualify despite being in the top 50, as their country has at least four players ranked higher.
Jannik Sinner is the first player in the entry list as world No. 1.

Final Qualification Places

In this way, the 56 spots will be completed excluding players from countries that already have four qualifiers. Additionally, there are six "Final Qualification Place" spots. Four of them are continental qualifications based on performance in the most recent Pan American Games, Asian Games, and African Games. There are two individual male and female spots for the Pan American event and one for the Asian and African Games.
Players qualified through this route must be within the top 400 at the time of the ranking deadline. For example, Chilean Tomas Barrios, World No. 155, qualifies directly for being a finalist in the Pan American Games, despite not being in the top 56.
Another case is Zheng Qinwen, World No. 7 at the end of the French Open and who won gold at the Asian Games. The Chinese player qualifies through two avenues, but the Asian Games route is prioritized, leaving a free spot within the ranking entries.
The last two spots in "Final Qualification Place" are wild cards for gold medalists or former Grand Slam champions. These are for players who do not qualify through ranking but are within the top 400, and their country has not reached the quota of 4 representatives. The spots on the men's side are almost certain to go to Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka. 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal will use his protected ranking due to his long injury absence and does not require a special invitation.
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The world No. 7 Qinwen Zheng qualified thanks to her gold medal at the Asian Games. 

Host Country Place

The regulations provided a reserved place for the host nation if they did not have players within the top 50. In this case, it will not be used as France has four male players in the top 50 and three female players. The quota will be added to the entries by ranking.

How does doubles work?

Draws of 32 teams will be played, all must be with teams from the same nation, with a maximum of two teams per nation. Top-10 doubles players have a reserved position in the classification if nominated by their country and can team up with any player from their country ranked in the top 300 in singles or doubles.
The remaining spots are allocated to teams by combined ranking order. That is, the sum of the ranking of the player – the one who is better in singles or doubles – will give a combined ranking, with those of lower classification obtaining an entry. For example, a doubles team of Coco Gauff (No. 2) and Jessica Pegula (No. 5) gives them a combined ranking of 7, which would eventually place them as one of the best-ranked pairs.
In the same way, it allows players in both singles and doubles to have a place in the draw. For example, the United Kingdom will have Katie Boulter (No. 32 singles) and Heather Watson (No. 49, doubles) in one of their women's teams.
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Pegula and Gauff will be one of the favourite doubles pairings for the gold medal.

Mixed Doubles

Mixed doubles will be exclusively defined by players who have entered the singles or doubles event. This will be a draw of only 16 teams, with a spot reserved for the highest-ranked team from the host country, with the French No. 1s Caroline Garcia (No. 22) and Edouard Roger-Vasselin (No. 12, doubles) or Ugo Humbert (No. 16, singles).
The next 15 places will be only one place per nation based on the combined ranking of the registered teams.

When will the entry list be known?

The ranking considered for entry to the tournament is those that appeared on June 10th, just after the end of the French Open. With the ranking clear, the Olympic associations of each country must confirm their male and female representatives according to the above criteria.
Several players have already withdrawn from the tournament, and their spots will be reassigned according to the players remaining in the ranking. The men's draw has already suffered confirmed withdrawals from players like Andrey Rublev, Ben Shelton, Karen Khachanov, and doubles world No. 2 Horacio Zeballos.
On the women's side, there are still more absences. Emma Raducanu declined a wildcard as a former Grand Slam champion, and recently announced that Ons Jabeur and Aryna Sabalenka will not travel to Paris. Others like Paula Badosa, Elise Mertens, and Liudmila Samsonova will also not be in the tournament.
The final entry list deadline is July 8, 2024, although the ITF acknowledges that, barring major issues, it could be announced as early as July 1.

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