History-making Australian team announced for Tokyo Olympic Games
Sam Stosur becomes the first Australian tennis player to represent the nation in five Olympic Games. She forms part of a strong 11-member team for Tokyo.
The Australian Olympic Committee has named Australia’s biggest-ever Olympic tennis team, with the 11 athletes eclipsing the 10-strong teams from Sydney 2000 and Rio 2016, and Sam Stosur becoming the first Australian tennis player to make five Olympics.
World No.1 Ash Barty and world No.15 Alex de Minaur headline the eight Olympic debutants on the team, with Rio Olympians John Millman and John Peers returning for their second Games.
Stosur and Barty are joined by Ajla Tomljanovic in women’s singles, with Barty teaming up with Storm Sanders and Stosur with Ellen Perez in women’s doubles.
Millman, Nick Kyrgios and James Duckworth join De Minaur in the men’s singles, with Millman partnering Luke Saville, and John Peers playing alongside De Minaur in men’s doubles.
World #1 @ashbarty and World #15 @alexdeminaur headline the 8 Olympic debutants on the Team, with Rio Olympians @johnhmillman and @johnwpeers returning for their 2nd Games, and @bambamsam30 creating history with her 5th Games!#TokyoTogether @TennisAustralia pic.twitter.com/F3SJTEsSPk
— AUS Olympic Team (@AUSOlympicTeam) June 29, 2021
Only two women will have represented Australia at more Olympics than Stosur – her Tokyo 2020 teammates Mary Hanna (equestrian) and Jian Fang Lay (table tennis), who will both compete at their sixth Games in Tokyo.
Alicia Molik, an Athens 2004 women’s singles bronze medallist, will captain the women’s team and national men’s coach Jaymon Crabb will lead the men’s team.
Chef de Mission for the Australian Olympic Team for Tokyo Ian Chesterman congratulated the athletes on today’s announcement.
“It’s fantastic to announce our biggest ever Australian Olympic tennis team,” Mr Chesterman said. “Over the years many of our Australian tennis players have embraced the opportunity to represent their country at an Olympic Games. Now these 11 players add to that story. It is a highly-credentialed team that has a real opportunity to add to Australia’s Olympic history.
“I want to particularly congratulate Sam Stosur on becoming Australia’s first tennis player to make it to five Olympics. She joins a select group of Athletes who have been selected on five Australian Olympic teams. To create a career that stretches from Athens in 2004 to Tokyo in 2021 is a remarkable feat.
“Congratulations to all the players announced today, we’re thrilled to see you in the green and gold in Tokyo and I’m sure there will be millions of Australian fans cheering you on.
“Thank you also to Tennis Australia and to the coaches, families, friends and supporter group that have helped these 11 players reach this Tokyo Olympic goal.”
Five-time Olympian Stosur said she was proud of achieving this Olympic milestone.
“It’s super special being able to represent your country in one Olympics, let alone five,” Stosur said. “I can’t believe I’m still going at this point in time, but thankfully I was able to keep going and make it between London and Tokyo which I didn’t ever think was going to be on the cards.
“To be part of a broader Australian team, that’s just another level of representation and there’s so many amazing, fantastic athletes, in the team every single year. You get to meet people that you’d never ever think that you’d be able to meet or talk to and whatever their sport is, they’re the best in the country and some of the best in the world. To be part of that is absolutely incredible.
“In primary school we did a time capsule. I went to the school for the first year that it opened, and I wrote in there that I wanted to win a Grand Slam, be No.1 in the world and go to an Olympic Games. To have done two out of the three, thinking that when I was nine or 10 years old, who would’ve thought, is something incredible.”
World No.1 Ash Barty also makes history as Australia’s first Indigenous Olympian in tennis.
“I think making your first Olympic team, particularly as an Australian, we have such a rich history and the Olympics is something I’ve always dreamt of and obviously super excited to get out there and represent the green and gold with the rest of the team,” Barty said. “It’s a massive united team and I can’t wait to be a part of it.
“Competing in an Olympic Games is always a dream, as young kids you aspire to, and I think we have so many iconic legends in Australian sport who have paved the way for us. Now for me to get a chance to create my own legacy, my own guide for youngsters coming through is really exciting.
“I’m excited to play both singles and doubles. Any opportunity you get to wear the green and gold, I wanted to grab it with both hands. I’m fit, I’m healthy, I’m excited to play doubles with Storm, she’s a childhood friend of mine and we’ve played a lot together from when we were young. So to be able to live out this dream with her is really, really special.”
De Minaur will head into Tokyo with a career-best ranking, fresh off his fifth career title at the Eastbourne International.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to be able to represent Australia at the Olympics, it’s an incredibly special feeling,” De Minaur said.
“I think we’ve got a great tennis team all around, both in the men and the women. Hopefully we can go out there and go deep and that’s what we’re going to try and do. We’ve got a great camaraderie going and we’re going to push each other to do well.
“The preparation, the anticipation brings a higher level of intensity and of course, passion. Playing for your country, it’s always going to be very special, it’s going to be amazing. I can’t wait to go with all the other incredible athletes from Australia and hopefully represent Australia and do Australia proud.”
Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said he was looking forward to seeing one of the country’s biggest and strongest tennis teams head to Tokyo.
“Our players are always proud to step up and compete for Australia and it’s fantastic to see our biggest ever Olympic tennis team, and one of our strongest, named for Tokyo next month,” Tiley said.
“Grand Slam champion Sam Stosur is clocking up another incredible milestone and will compete in her fifth Olympic Games, which is an amazing achievement.
“Eight players will make their debut, led by world No.1 Ash Barty and Alex de Minaur, who reached a career high ranking of No.15 this week. John Millman and John Peers will compete in their second Olympic Games. We wish the team well in Tokyo and look forward to supporting their journey.”