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By Akshay Kohli
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With 19 out of the Top-20 players featuring in both the singles event(men and women), this probably is the toughest field the Olympics have seen yet. This field however is not a concern for Sun Jinfang, head of the Chinese tennis governing body. “You never know what could happen in the Olympics,” she said. “It’s not like a regular tournament. We have four Grand Slams every year but the Olympics comes around once every four years so there’s more pressure,” commented Jinfang.
She added, “Of course it’s very challenging given the singles entry, but I hope the players can bring us more surprises and make the country proud.” Four Chinese have qualified for the Olympic tennis event. Li Na, the 2011 French Open winner, along side Zheng Jie and Peng Shuai in the women’s singles draw. Peng and Zheng will also team up for the doubles, while Li will compete with Zhang Shuai.
Though Li has failed to win another trophy since the Paris breakthrough, she still remains a serious medal contender at Olympics. “I am looking forward to playing at the Olympics. This could be my last time to play for my country at the Olympics as I’m already 30 years old and you never know what will happen after four years,” Li said.
Wimbledon will be followed by the Games just three weeks later as Olympic tennis returns to Wimbledon for the first time since 1908. The clothing restrictions will be lifted at the conservative All England Club for the Olympic tennis tournament, with players wearing the national colors instead of the regular white. “I’m looking forward to seeing Wimbledon without people wearing white,” Li said. “In more than 100 years nothing has changed here so maybe it’s the only time in a lifetime you can see people wearing different colors.”
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