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By Erik Gudris

(March 6th, 2012) With rumors swirling that Rafael Nadal, might be selected to carry his nation's flag at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics, tennis fans might want to start reading up on the rules and regulations that will oversee the tennis event. But don't worry, Tennis Now has done it for you.

The International Tennis Federation, or ITF, which will oversee the tennis event at the Games released its rulebook covering how players will be selected and how the matches will be conducted. The key points are:

- Men's Singles and Women's Singles events will be made up of 64 players, 56 of which will be direct acceptances based on the computer rankings as of June 11th, 2012. The additional slots will be filled by six (6) ITF places determined by the ITF alone based on a player's ranking, nationality, and if their country has other participants in the draw. Two (2) invitations will be selected by the ITF and other national associations again on the basis of nationality and if their country has few participants in other events.

- Men's Doubles, Women's Doubles and Mixed Doubles will have 16 teams each in their respective draws.

- Players with a recognized top 10 doubles ranking will get a direct acceptance into the doubles event with the rest of the players selected by their national associations. A top doubles player can select any player to be their partner, so long as that player has any recognizable singles or doubles ranking. Those playing mixed doubles must already be accepted into either a singles or doubles event, i.e. no player can just participate in mixed doubles as their only event.

- Each country can have a maximum of six (6) men and six (6) women representing them at the event.

- All matches will be best of two out of three sets except the men's singles final which will be best three out of five sets. The final set in all matches, except in mixed doubles, will be played to advantage. The final set in all mixed doubles matches will be decided by a match tiebreak.

For the United States, the likely scenario would be that the U.S. men would be represented by Mardy FishJohn Isner, Andy Roddick,  and Donald Young,  with the Bryan Brothers as one men's doubles team. For the U.S. women, the selections could be Serena Williams, Christina McHale, Vania King,  and Bethanie Mattek-Sands with Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond as one women's doubles team.

The 2012 Olympics will be held on July 28th to August 5th with the tennis event taking place at the AELTC, Wimbledon.

 

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