With one of the biggest global fandoms across all sports, tennis serves as both a fun, recreational activity as well as an incredible spectacle of athleticism and competition. The Olympics are no exception to the entertainment and excitement that tennis has provided its fans for many years. Just recently, Germany’s Alexander Zverev pulled off a stunning upset against Serbian superstar, Novak Djokovic in the men’s singles semi-final round before advancing to win the Olympic gold medal.
Tennis has seen its share of iconic Olympians in the Open Era—the current era of professional tennis—which began in 1968 and includes each Olympic Games since Seoul 1988. If you’re a fan, or just curious, read on for Olympic Men’s Tennis: 5 Most-Decorated Medallists of the Open Era!
1. Andy Murray (Great Britain)
Born in Scotland and a long-time favourite of many British tennis fans, Andy Murray has solidified his name in the Olympic record books with some of the most outstanding achievements in recent history. Murray is the only player in Olympic tennis history to have won two singles gold medals, and the only player to have successfully defended his singles crown.
Although forced to withdraw from the men’s singles with a quadriceps injury in Tokyo 2020, Murray will go down in history for his Olympic prowess and three Grand Slam titles (2 at Wimbledon and 1 at the U.S. Open). He will look to bounce back at the U.S. Open now, having been added to the main draw due to Stan Wawrinka’s withdrawal.
Key Olympic achievements: Two Olympic gold medals in Men’s singles (2012, 2016) and one Olympic silver medal in Mixed doubles (2012).
2. Rafael Nadal (Spain)
Rafael Nadal is one of only 10 men’s tennis players to have won two Olympic gold medals. The Spaniard beat Fernando Gonzalez to win the Men’s singles gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He also combined efforts with Marc Lopez to win the Men’s doubles gold at the Rio Olympics in 2016. Nadal fell just short of a third Olympic medal in the Men’s singles event at Rio 2016, where he lost in the semi-finals in a third-set tiebreak and went on to lose in the bronze-medal match to Kei Nishikori.
Despite withdrawing from the Tokyo 2020 Games to rest his body, Nadal remains the only member of the ‘Big 3’ with an Olympic gold in men’s singles.
Key Olympic achievements: One Olympic gold medal in Men’s singles (2008) and one Olympic gold medal in Men’s doubles (2016).
3. Nicolas Massu (Chile)
Chilean tennis player Nicolas Massu pulled off an extraordinary feat during the Athens Olympic Games in 2004. Massu won the first gold medal for his country in Doubles with Fernando Gonzalez, before doing it again in Singles. With this feat, Massu became the first double gold medallist in Men’s tennis in the modern era.
Key Olympic achievements: One Olympic gold medal in Men’s singles (2004) and one Olympic gold medal in Men’s doubles (2004).
4. Fernando Gonzalez (Chile)
Fernando Gonzalez will go down in history as one of the best Chilean tennis players of all time. Gonzalez, along with Nicolas Massu, won Chile’s first ever gold medal in the Men’s doubles event at the 2004 Athens Olympics. At the same Games, Gonzalez won bronze in the Men’s singles, finishing behind Massu and Mardy Fish. Four years later in Beijing, Gonzalez secured a silver medal in Men’s singles, finishing runner-up to Rafael Nadal.
Key Olympic achievements: One Olympic gold medal in Men’s doubles (2004), one Olympic silver medal in Men’s singles (2008), and one Olympic bronze medal in Men’s singles (2004).
5. Roger Federer (Switzerland)
Swiss legend, Roger Federer is one of the most decorated male players in tennis history, but he is yet to win the Olympic Singles gold. At the London 2012 Olympics, Federer fell in straight sets to Andy Murray in the men’s singles final. However, he managed to win a gold medal in Men’s doubles four years prior at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He and Swiss teammate Stan Wawrinka joined forces to defeat Sweden’s Simon Aspelin and Thomas Johansson in the final.
Despite never winning a gold medal in Men’s singles, Federer is a generational talent and a huge influence in the tennis world. His 20 Grand Slam Titles tie Rafael Nadal and Novak Djocovic for the most ever.
Key Olympic achievements: One Olympic gold medal in Men’s doubles (2008) and one Olympic silver medal in Men’s singles (2012).
Who are your fave tennis stars past and present? What have been your favourite tennis moments from the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games? Let us know in the comments below, and join in the conversation on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!