By Pritha Sarkar
LONDON (Reuters) – Rafael Nadal, the 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medalist, and former world number one Caroline Wozniacki were among those named in the provisional entry list for the August Rio Games by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) on Thursday.
Nadal and Wozniacki’s participation had been in doubt as injury had prevented them from fulfilling the minimum number of Davis and Fed Cup appearances required in a four-year Olympic cycle to qualify for the Games.
Both had filed an appeal to be included and the list released by the ITF showed that they would be making the trip to Brazil, although Nadal will have to turn up for Spain’s Davis Cup Europe/Africa Group 1, second round tie in Romania from July 15-17 if he wants to make the Rio field.
Nadal, currently out with a wrist injury, could also get the green light to compete from the ITF Olympic Committee appeal.
Maria Sharapova’s hopes of competing at the Aug. 5-21 Games were, however, extinguished.
Russia had put Sharapova forward as one of their entrants but the five-times grand slam champion failed to make the cut as she is currently serving a two-year doping ban after returning a positive test for Meldonium at this year’s Australian Open.
Sharapova has appealed against her ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and requested for her hearing to be expedited to July.
That deadline had suggested she still harbored hopes of making the Olympics but the ITF list showed that compatriots Svetlana Kuznetsova, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Daria Kasatkina and Ekaterina Makarova will be competing in Rio.
A maximum of four entrants per country is allowed in each singles draw.
Britain’s Andy Murray and 21-times grand slam champion Serena Williams will defend their London 2012 singles titles, while American twins Bob and Mike Bryan and sisters Venus and Serena Williams will defend their doubles titles.
Sixty-four players will contest both the men’s and women’s singles. Thirty-two teams will contest both the men’s and women’s doubles. There will also be a mixed doubles event.
Grand slam winners Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka, Venus Williams, Victoria Azarenka, Ana Ivanovic, Angelique Kerber and Garbine Muguruza will also be in the singles field.
The withdrawal of top-20 players Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic means that little known John Millman and Thanasi Kokkinakis will be representing Australia at the Games.
(Reporting by Pritha Sarkar, editing by Martyn Herman)