USTA names Olympics tennis coaches

June 5, 2012

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — The USTA, the governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S., announced today that U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez and Jay Berger, USTA Player Development Head of Men’s Tennis, have been named as the women’s and men’s coaches for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Tennis Teams. In addition, Dan James, Head U.S. National Wheelchair Team Coach, has been named coach for the U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Tennis Team.

The 2012 Olympic Games will be held July 27 – August 12 in London, England, with the tennis competition being staged July 28 – August 5 at the All England Lawn Tennis Club at Wimbledon. The 2012 Paralympic Games will be held August 29 – September 9 in London with the tennis competition scheduled for September 1-8 at Eton Manor in the Olympic Park. The Olympic competition will begin 20 days after the completion of The Wimbledon Championships.

“With Olympic tennis being held at the hallowed grounds of Wimbledon, the Olympics add another dimension to what will be a memorable summer of tennis,” said Jon Vegosen, Chairman of the Board and President, USTA. “Tennis as a sport benefits greatly from being showcased on such a prestigious international stage as the Olympics. Each of the coaches who will be representing the U.S. brings experience as an accomplished player and coach, with a unique ability to connect with the athletes to lead our quest for 2012 gold.”

“I’m honored and thrilled to be selected as the Olympic coach,” said Fernandez, who led the U.S. Fed Cup team to the final in two of her first three years as Captain. “Some of my fondest tennis memories are from the Olympics and the incomparable thrill of winning a gold medal. I would like nothing more than to share in that Olympic experience with our team this summer.”

“We have some very strong players who should all be medal contenders in London,” said Berger, who has been the USTA Player Development Head of Men’s Tennis since 2008. “I know the American men have been looking forward to competing for gold at Wimbledon, and will relish the opportunity to compete on one of the biggest stages in sport.”

The 2012 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. will also be able to place a maximum of two mixed doubles teams in the competition, which will be contested at the Olympic Games for the first time. Olympic Team nominations will be made using the ATP World Tour and WTA rankings as of June 11. All team and staff nominations are subject to approval by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

The United States has won 17 Olympic medals in men’s and women’s tennis since its return as a full medal sport in 1988 – more than any other nation. U.S. players have won 12 medals at the Paralympic Games, including a gold and a bronze in 2008.

The 2012 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 (limited movement or strength in at least three extremities), 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 21, 2012, and are subject to approval by the USOC.

“The Paralympics is the ultimate platform for worldwide competition among outstanding wheelchair athletes,” said James. “It is a tremendous privilege to coach at the highest level of international play and I am eager to begin our quest for medals.”

Wheelchair tennis was introduced to the Paralympic program in 1988 as an exhibition event before becoming a full medal sport at the 1992 Paralympic Games in Barcelona. Paralympic tennis is an open competition, eligible to those athletes with a mobility-related disability and 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. The U.S. Olympic Committee will approve all team and staff selections.