WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., June 23, 2016 – The USTA, the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S., today announced that U.S. Fed Cup captain Mary Joe Fernandez and USTA Player Development Head of Men’s Tennis, Jay Berger, have been named, respectively, as the women’s and men’s coaches of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Tennis Team. In addition, Dan James, Head U.S. National Wheelchair Team Coach, has been named coach of the U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Tennis Team.
The 2016 Olympic Games will be held August 5-21 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with the tennis competition being staged August 6-14 at the Barra Tennis Center. The 2016 Paralympic Games will be held September 7-18 with the tennis competition scheduled for September 9-16 at the same venue.
“Each of the coaches who have been chosen to lead our U.S. teams has outstanding credentials and have proven themselves as great leaders and motivators,” said Katrina Adams, USTA Chairman, CEO and President. “The Olympics and Paralympics provide a magnificent stage for us to showcase the very best of tennis, and we are extremely fortunate to have Mary Joe, Jay, and Dan serve as coaches for our teams—and ambassadors for our sport—as we go for the gold in 2016.”
“To be able to represent the U.S. for a fourth time at the Olympics is a tremendous honor,” said Fernandez, 1992 & 1996 Olympic Doubles Gold Medalist. “I’m excited and looking forward to helping the top American women as they look to capture medals in Rio.”
“It’s the greatest honor to represent the United States, especially for the third time at the Olympics,” said Berger. “I am looking forward to working with the guys in Rio and know the team is excited to climb up on the medal podium.”
“I could not be more proud to be coaching these great athletes and to be representing Team USA once again,” said James. “The Paralympic Games are an amazing event as they offer these athletes the opportunity to showcase their sport and be seen by millions of fans around the world.”
The 2016 U.S. Olympic Tennis Team will consist of up to six men and six women, with a maximum of four men and four women competing in the singles competition and a maximum of two men’s and two women’s teams competing in doubles. The U.S. also will be able to place a maximum of two teams in the mixed doubles competition, which will be contested at the Olympic Games for just the second time. The Olympic Tennis Team player nominations are made using the ATP World Tour and WTA rankings as of June 6. The U.S. Olympic nominations are under the review of the ITF and will be formally announced in the coming weeks pursuant to the ITF’s Qualifications and Appeals timeline.
The United States has won 21 Olympic medals in men’s and women’s tennis—more than any other nation—since the sport returned as a full medal sport in 1988. U.S. players have won 15 medals at the Paralympic Games, including the gold medal every year in the Quad doubles division since that event’s inception in 2004.
The 2016 U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Tennis Team will consist of a maximum of four men and four women in the wheelchair singles competition, with no more than two doubles teams in the wheelchair doubles competition. In the quad wheelchair competition, a maximum of three players may compete in the event, with a maximum of three in the singles event and one team in the doubles event. Team nominations will be based on ITF Wheelchair Tennis World Rankings as of May 23, 2016. The Paralympic team will be announced the week of June 27.
It will be the seventh time that wheelchair tennis has appeared at the Paralympic Games as a full medal sport, having made its debut as a demonstration sport at Seoul 1988. Wheelchair tennis was fully admitted to the Paralympics at Barcelona 1992, where men’s and women’s singles and doubles were contested. After further successful events at Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000, the quad class was introduced at Athens 2004. Paralympic tennis is an open competition, eligible to those athletes with a mobility-related disability. All competitors must compete in a wheelchair.
The USTA was officially designated by the USOC as the national governing body for the Paralympic sport of wheelchair tennis in June 2002, becoming the first Olympic national governing body to earn this recognition. As the national governing body for wheelchair tennis, the USTA manages wheelchair tennis in the United States, including the sanctioning of tournaments, overseeing the ranking systems, creating and managing a High Performance program for developing elite disabled athletes and coaches.
All athlete and staff nominations to the 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams are subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee.