By Randy Walker
The Williams sisters. The Bryan brothers. The Radwanska sisters. The Murray brothers. Is there a more family friendly Olympic sport than tennis?
Siblings are seemingly omnipresent around the grounds, including in a second-round clash Monday between two “younger sisters” – Serena Williams of the United States and Urszula Radwanska of Poland. The younger sister of Venus Williams prevailed by a 6-2, 6-3 margin over the younger sister of Agnieska Radwanksa. While Agnieska Radwanska, the No. 2 seed, was upset in the first round of singles Sunday, Venus Williams was able to manage an upset win of sorts, the five-time Wimbledon champion and former world No. 1 defeating No. 9 seed Sara Errani of Italy 6-3, 6-1 in her singles opener Monday.
In doubles, Venus and Serena, the gold medal winners in women’s doubles in 2000 and 2008, defeated Romania’s Sorana Cirstea and Simona Halep 6-3, 6-2 in their opening round.
The Williams sisters are the second set of sisters and third set of siblings to represent the United States on the U.S. Olympic tennis team. The only other sisters to represent the United States in Olympic tennis were Georgina and Marion Jones, who competed in the 1900 Games in Paris. Marion Jones, no relation to the U.S. track standout, won the first medal for the United States in Olympic tennis competition when she won a silver in women’s singles. (She also won a bronze medal in mixed doubles with Laurie Doherty of Great Britain). The only other set of siblings to represent the United States in Olympic tennis were brothers Arthur and Joseph Wear, who competed in the 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis, Mo. The Wear brothers, who are the great, great uncles of President George W. Bush, each won a bronze medal in men’s doubles by virtue of reaching the semifinals of men’s doubles. Arthur Wear played with Clarence Gamble, while Joseph Wear partnered Allen West.
The Bryan brothers – Bob and Mike – join the Wear brothers as the only other brothers to represent the United States in Olympic tennis. Like the Wears, the Bryans also own Olympic bronze medals in doubles, however, won as a team when they secured third-place honors in 2008.
The Radwanska sisters were victorious in their Olympic doubles opener Monday, defeating the Slovak team of Dominka Cibulkova and Daniela Hantuchova 6-2, 6-1. The Murray brothers – Andy and Jaime – were eliminated in the first round of doubles, but Andy is seed No. 3 in men’s singles and plays his second round match Tuesday.
Other siblings to medal at Olympic tennis include Spain’s Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (2 silver, 2 bronze) and Emilio Sanchez (1988 silver in men’s doubles) as well as Britain’s Reggie and Laurie Doherty won paired to win gold in men’s doubles in 1900 – Reggie also bagging gold in mixed and a bronze in singles while Laurie secured a gold in singles and a bronze in mixed.
To read more about Olympic tennis and its history, including stats, records, results, download the Kindle ebook “Olympic Tennis: An Historical Snapshot” for $2.99 here:http://www.amazon.com/Olympic-Tennis-Historical-Snapshot-ebook/dp/B008EOXW40/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1343499628&sr=8-1&keywords=Olympic+Tennis+Randy+Walker