After Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova & Andrey Rublev won the Mixed Doubles at Tokyo 2020 by the narrowest of margins, the Olympic Tennis Event came to a close on Day 9.
Since I was a kid I was watching Olympics on TV, watching the different athletes winning a medal, watching winter games, summer games. I was not even thinking about winning a medal. I was hoping that one day I was going to compete. Now I’m here with a gold medal. After that shot, in one second all this time passing, all the tears, all the pain… it’s a release, you know. Another level. Andrei Rublev
Pavlyuchenkova & Rublev saved a match point in the mixed doubles final to win the Gold medal after an all-Russian affair in which they outlasted Elena Vesnina & Aslan Karatsev 6-3 6-7(5) [13-11].
They claimed 4 wins en route to securing Gold and each of them came in match tiebreaks.
“He [Rublev] always says that we’re lucky. It kind of makes me angry,” Pavlyuchenkova joked afterwards. “Of course there was always a bit of luck.
“Everything has to come together in a puzzle, but I think when it comes to these match tiebreaks, especially in such tight matches, it’s also mental. I think we were fighting like crazy in every match.”
Rublev achieved his childhood dream
“The feeling was unreal,” admitted Rublev. “[In that moment], you feel release of all your body that was coming since you were a kid.
“Since I was a kid I was watching Olympics on TV, watching the different athletes winning a medal, watching winter games, summer games.
“I was not even thinking about winning a medal. I was hoping that one day I was going to compete.
“Now I’m here with a gold medal. After that shot, in one second all this time passing, all the tears, all the pain… it’s a release, you know. Another level.”
The Olympic Tennis Event, which finished on Sunday after 9 days of thrilling action at the Ariake Tennis Park, is a unique occasion in the sport and is a dream for many players.
While these Games were like none that came before them, they still offered athletes from across the world the chance to represent their nations and compete for Olympic glory.
The event culminated with 5 exciting Gold Medal matches, with the champions in all 5 tennis events winning their first Olympic Gold medals.
Tennis returns to Tokyo in just over 3 weeks’ time, with the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Wheelchair Tennis Event, which will see 104 players compete across men’s, women’s and quad wheelchair events, running from Friday 27 August to Saturday 4 September.
The competition has been enjoyed by sports fans around the world, with millions tuning in on TV and following online, while ITF social media accounts have provided comprehensive coverage of tennis at the Olympics since mid-July, resulting in 137 million impressions and 6.5 million engagements.
“We were delighted to see the world’s best tennis players represent their nations in search of Olympic glory, ITF President David Haggerty said. “Once again, the players have shown how much competing for an Olympic medal means to them and I would like to congratulate all the athletes who won medals in Tokyo.
“I would like to pay tribute to all the staff and volunteers who worked so hard to make to make the Olympic Tennis Event a success, as well as the Tokyo 2020 organising committee (TOCOG), the government of Japan and the IOC.
“We are already looking forward to Paralympic Wheelchair Tennis Event in Tokyo later this month.”
The ITF has published some of the key numbers and statistics from the event:
1 – Swiss woman to win Olympic gold in history following Belinda Bencic’s victory at Tokyo 2020
2 – former Youth Olympic Games medallists who won medals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Tennis Event, with Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev becoming the first tennis players to win medals at the Youth Olympics and the Olympics
2 – gold medal matches contested by teams from the same nation, with an all-Croatian men’s doubles final and all-ROC mixed doubles final
3 – medals won by ROC, the most of any nation at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Tennis Event
3 – nations to win medals at the Olympic Tennis Event for the first time: Brazil, New Zealand and Ukraine
4 – tennis players who carried their nation’s flag at the Opening Ceremony: Veronica Cepede Royg, Petra Kvitova, Yen-Hsun Lu and Jelena Ostapenko
4 – match points saved by Laura Pigossi and Luisa Stefani in the match tiebreak in the women’s doubles bronze medal match before defeating Veronika Kudermetova & Elena Vesnina to win Brazil’s first-ever medal in tennis at the Olympics
5 – nations to win gold medals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Tennis Event: Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, ROC and Switzerland
10 – nations to win medals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Tennis Event overall
13 – nations to contest medal matches at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Tennis Event
29 – players who reached medal matches at Tokyo 2020, with Belinda Bencic, Novak Djokovic and Elena Vesnina reaching two medal matches each
30 – nations which have won Olympic medals in tennis since the sport returned to returned to the Games as a full medal sport at Seoul 1988
33 – years since Germany had won a gold medal in singles, with Alexander Zverev becoming the first German player to win Olympic singles gold since Steffi Graf at Seoul 1988
45 – nations who competed at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Tennis Event
190 – players who competed at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Tennis Event
203 – minutes that Marin Cilic’s and Joao Menezes’ men’s singles first round match lasted, the longest match at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Tennis Event
208 – matches that were played at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Tennis Event