By Barry Janoff
July 17, 2016: The USA tennis team that will compete in the Summer Games (Aug. 5-21) is loaded not only with talent and Grand Slam titles, but a plethora of marketing partners.
Still savoring the results of winning The Championship at Wimbledon Grand Slam women's singles title — the 22nd Grand Slam of her career — Serena Williams will be part of her fourth Olympics when she represents the U.S. in Rio de Janeiro,
Williams will be joined by her sister, Venus, entering her fifth Olympic Games, in both singles and doubles competitions. Serena will seek to defend her singles gold medal she won in London in 2012. Serena and Venus also will seek to defend the women's doubles gold medal they won four years ago.
Also returning are Bob and Mike Bryan, who will seek to defend the men's doubles gold medal they won in London. This will be their fourth Olympics, having also won bronze in Beijing in 2008. They have won 16 Grand Slam doubles titles.
The complete USA tennis team, named by the U.S. Tennis Assn., also includes several Olympic Games rookies who are, or have been, making an impact on tennis.
Rio will be the first Games for Brian Baker, Steve Johnson, Madison Keys, Denis Kudla, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Jack Sock, Sloane Stephens and Coco Vandeweghe.
Serena Williams, who arrives as the No. 1 women's tennis player in the world, brings a marketing roster that includes Nike, Gatorade, IBM, Wilson and OPI; as well as Mission AthleteCare, Sleep Sheets and HSN, companies where she is an investor as well as a spokesperson.
She also makes a presence in marketing support for NBC's coverage of the Games, including the network's "Salute The Women of Team USA" spot (pictured above).
Venus Williams oversees her own fashion line, EleVen, and has deals that include Jamba Juice, Wilson and V Starr.
The Bryan Brothers have endorsement deals that include K-Swiss, GoPro, DNA Renewal, Prince and Barracuda Networks.
The U.S. women’s tennis coach is Mary Joe Fernandez, the men’s coach is Jay Berger.
The Olympic tennis competition is scheduled to start on Aug. 6 and run through Aug. 14. (Aug. 15 is reserved as a contingency day in case of bad weather.)
The men's double's gold is scheduled for Aug. 12. Women's singles gold match is scheduled for Aug. 13. Men's singles gold and women's doubles gold are schedule for Aug. 14.
Events are being held in the Olympic Tennis Centre, which was built for the 2016 Games.
According to NBC, Bravo will serve as the home of Olympic tennis, televising 94.5 hours of live coverage.
For each of the first five days, Bravo will televise Olympic tennis for more than 12 hours, (9:30 AM. ET until 10 PM. ET.) The final four days will each consist of eight hours of coverage (11 AM. ET to 7 PM. ET).
Andy Murray is the defending men's singles gold medalist, having won in London 2012, where Roger Federer won silver and Juan Martin Del Potro bronze.
Maria Sharapova won silver in 2012, Victoria Azarenka bronze. Neither will be in Rio due to suspension and pregnancy, respectively.
Tennis debuted in 1896, but was dropped after the 1924 Games. The sport was reinstated for the 1988 Olympics in Seoul and has been part of the event ever since.
The U.S. Open begins Aug. 29 and runs until Sept. 11.
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