Australian Olympic team opening ceremony outfti

The Australian Olympic Committee and Sportscraft, official outfitter of the Australian Olympic team, unveiled the opening ceremony uniforms for the Australian athletes in Rio.

Sticking to the iconic green and gold, the athletes will don a green and white striped blazer with prominent national coat of arms on the upper pocket. The names of every Australian gold medallist since 1896 are embroidered in the lining of each blazer.

Tennis has provided Australia with one gold, one silver and four bronze medals. Edwin Flack, the winner of the 800m and 1500m athletics titles in 1896, also played in doubles tennis at those Olympics. His partner was an Englishman, George Robertson and the pair won bronze.

The gold and silver medals were won by ‘The Woodies’ – Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge – in the men’s doubles at Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 respectively.

Elizabeth Smylie and Wendy Turnbull won bronze in the women’s doubles at Seoul 1988 and Rachel McQuillan with Nicole Bradtke did likewise at Barcelona 1992. At Athens 2004, Alicia Molik won Australia’s first individual tennis medal, a bronze in the women’s singles.

Australian Olympic team opening ceremony outfit

Australian Olympic team opening ceremony outfit

Australian Olympic team opening ceremony outfit

Australian Olympic team opening ceremony outfit

Source: 2016 Australian Olympic Team website

Stay tuned for more Rio 2016 coverage on Tennis Buzz.

Cédric Pioline

Excerpt of Pete Sampras‘ autobiography A champion’s mind:

Todd Woodbridge had a career singles run at Wimbledon in 1997, making it all the way to the semifinals. Although he is one of the all-time doubles greats, Todd had trouble translating his skill to singles. He had geat technique and finesse, and he was very crafty. But he didn’t make a lot of power and he didn’t move great (in doubles, he only had to worry about half the court). Todd’s weaknesses played right into my strengths, and I had little trouble with him. Once again, I found myself facing Cédric Pioline in the final.

I felt for Cédric because even though he had played a previous Grand Slam final against me at the US Open, this was different – no tournament feels as historic as Wimbledon. There was no pressure on him; I was the prohibitive favorite. His best chance lay in getting out there and just letting it rip – what did he have to lose? But that’s easier said than done.

Once again, as in our US Open final, Cédric seemed overwhelmed. I won the first two sets, giving up just six games. I was on top of my game and in touch with the Gift. It seemed like just minutes after the start of the match, yet there I was, serving at 5-4 in the third. I found myself thinking, Wow this is too easy. I don’t mean to be disrespectful toward Cédric. It was just that the match was on my racket, far sooner and with far less difficulty than I expected.

I had this flash as I got within two points of the match: Man, this is so big, what I’m doing – this is it. Wimbledon. It’s huge … And I was immediately overcome by this feeling of insecurity. I panicked, like someone having an anxiety attack. I thought, Is it really supposed to be so easy? Am I missing something here? Is this all going to turn out to be some kind of joke or hoax, on me? In a very real, visceral way, it was like a great dream, the kind in which you feel omnipotent, but a part of you knows that at any moment you might wake up and destroy the illusion.

But I didn’t wake. I coasted across the finish line in straight sets, giving up a total of ten games. It was fitting end to one of the least eventful or significant of my Wimbledon tournaments. I didn’t have any epic battles or showdowns with career rivals. Yet my performance at Wimbledon in 1997 may have been my best, in terms of having full control of my game and using it to maximum advantage for the longest sustained period. One stat said it all: I served 118 games, and held 116 times.”

The London Underground Map has been redesigned for the Olympics, with each of the 361 stations named after an Olympic icon.

As part of London’s Olympic celebrations, the London Underground Map has been transformed, with stations renamed after legendary Olympic superstars.

The new map brings in famous Olympians from a variety of sports, including US swimmer Michael Phelps, gymnastics great Nadia Comaneci from Romania, Spaniard and five-time Tour de France champion Miguel Indurain and 1992 US Dream Team basketball players Michael Jordan and Larry Bird.

Tennis players included on the map are: Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Fernando Gonzalez, Laurence Doherty, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Nicolas Massu, Mark Woodforde, Todd Woodbridge, Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf, Boris Becker, Michael Stich, Justine Henin, Serena Williams and Venus Williams.

The Underground Olympic Legends Map was designed by Alex Trickett, international editor for the BBC sport website, and sports historian David Brooks.

The map not only celebrates multiple gold medal winning athletes but also features other extraordinary athletes who may not have won an Olympic gold medal but are recognised for their abilities or in some cases, famous defeats

To view an enlarged version of the map, click here.

Via insidethegames

Aussie Youngsters

Every year, hundreds of players who gather Down Under agree the atmosphere at the Australian Open defines the tournament. However, in recent times the home crowd has had little to put their fanatical support behind.

The Woodies of Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde have provided some doubles pleasantries but since Chris O’Neil claimed the women’s title in 1978, the closest they’ve come to a home singles champion is Kim Clijsters’ triumph last year as the Belgian’s ‘Aussie Kim’ nickname finally meant more than just her dating past with Lleyton Hewitt.

Hewitt almost ended the barren spell for a nation which has produced legendary names such as Rod Laver and Margaret Court in 2005. Marat Safin claimed the title from a set down and no one has come close since. That could be set to change though.

Sam Stosur became the first Australian Grand Slam winner since Hewitt at Wimbledon in 2002 when she claimed the US Open crown four months ago. At 27, she has less time to make more history but encouraging signs have emerged indicating the next generation of Aussie talent can succeed where Hewitt couldn’t.

For a start, the current Wimbledon junior champions are both Australians. Luke Saville and Ashleigh Barty can boast the grass court event amongst the highlights of promising junior careers. Saville reached the final of the Australian Open juniors last year and was joined by several compatriots at the top of the junior world rankings including Andrew Harris, Andrew Whittington and Nick Kyrgios. Meanwhile the girls, including Barty, won the 2011 Junior Davis Cup.

Barty has even begun to make a mark on the pro circuit at just 15 years of age. The Queensland native last month won herself a place in the main draw of the Australian Open senior tournament after beating established players including a former top 50 name in Casey Dellacqua during the wildcard play-offs. Her focus and attitude are better than some players twice her age and being equipped with the talent to match makes her a strong contender for future stardom.

Australia can also pin their hopes on a crop of youngsters who add depth if not future tour champions. Olivia Rogowska and Isabella Holland are both 20 and pushing for the WTA’s top 100 while James Duckworth and Ben Mitchell are 19 and sit just outside the ATP top 200.

Clearly interest is still alive in the sport, which is always a positive but with the rapid decline of Hewitt, it’s left a hole as to who could challenge for the Melbourne title on the men’s tour. Another top 10 player is perhaps needed to push the next generation forward. Matthew Ebden isn’t too old to enjoy some top level tennis after a successful 2011 where he finished the year inside the top 100 but the main prospect is Bernard Tomic.

The 19-year-old is the youngest man in the top 100 and has already cemented a place in the top 50. With a Wimbledon quarter-final berth under his belt too, he could be challenging for the title on his favourite surface very soon.

Like Barty, he has the right frame of mind to use his big serve and excellent movement to make something of himself. However, there are questions concerning his attitude. Australia’s Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter has spoken out about Tomic’s work ethic while he’s also been involved in some controversial incidents in the past.

What stands Tomic out from the rest of the up and coming players on the tour is his love of a big stage. The more that’s riding on a match, the more he thrives. That intrepidity has seen him record victories over Robin Soderling, Tomas Berdych and Stansislas Wawrinka so far but it’s also had a negative impact. When he’s played lesser known opponents his effort levels have waned, although without that casual approach he might not be where he is today.

Things have started looking good for him in 2012 though. A 6-1, 6-2 demolition of Tatsuma Ito en route to a semi-final berth at the Brisbane International shows he can cope with players below and above his ranking. His relationship with the press has also improved. Whereas before he showed very little personality, he now cracks the odd joke and embraces his home fans.

Whether that will continue outside of Australia is yet to be known but right now, he can be seen as a huge threat in the Australian Open draw. With more experience Tomic could win majors and is the ray of light for the next generation of Aussies; both players and fans.

By Lewis Davies

I was at Roland Garros today, not for the womens final because I didn’t manage to get tickets (by the way, congrats to Na Li for her historic victory) but for the Trophée des Légendes.

But first, on Court 7 today, an exhibition between Jim Courier, Andre Agassi, Mansour Bahrami and young players of the Longines Future Tennis Aces tournament.

Andre Agassi

Andre Agassi

Andre Agassi

Read More