Olympic sport since 1896
||France's Nathalie Dechy chases a shot from Russia's Maria Kirilenko at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament in Montreal August 16, 2006. [Reuters]
When Irishman John Boland travelled to Athens for the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, he had no idea he would return home with the gold medal in tennis. But then, he had no idea he would compete either - he went as a spectator.
Times have changed dramatically for Olympic tennis since then. Today's Olympic tennis players include some of the highest-profile athletes in the world. Accustomed to five-star hotels and high-stakes prize money, at the Olympic Games they will bunk in the Olympic Village and compete for nothing but a gold medal.
Tennis was dropped from the Olympic programme after 1924 amid turmoil over such issues as where to draw the line between amateurism and professionalism, and it didn't return as a medal sport until 1988. Today, Olympic competition includes men's and women's singles and men's and women's doubles.