Like the Seoul Olympics of 1988, Sydney fell after the US Open. The easier schedule along with a somewhat solid 1996 for tennis led to another successful games.
Venus’ 2000 Dominance
Venus Williams won Wimbledon and the US Open in 2000. She posted a 35 match winning streak that spanned Wimbledon through the US Open and 2000 Olympic games. Venus also won the doubles titles at Wimbledon and the Sydney Olympics with her sister Serena Williams. 2 Grand Slam singles titles, 1 Grand Slam doubles title, and Olympic gold in singles and doubles capped off the best stretch of Venus’ career. Elena Dementieva took home a silver medal in singles. Monica Seles, who failed to medal in 1996, picked up the bronze medal in 2000. Seles’ career trajectory was derailed in a heinous manner in 1993 so this medal is one of the brighter accomplishments as her career was winding down. The 2000 games confirmed Venus’ status as the best player in the world despite the WTA computer not reflecting this fact.
Yevgeny Loves Rebound Ace
Yevgeny Kafelnikov won the 1999 Australian Open and was runner-up in Melbourne in 2000. The rebound ace surface used at the Australian Open from 1988-2007 was used by the Sydney Olympics as well. Kafelnikov won gold in singles defeating Tommy Haas 7-6, 3-6, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. This was an epic match to decide the gold medal. Arnaud Di Pasquale defeated a young talent named Roger Federer in the bronze medal match 7-6, 6-7, 6-3. Kafelnikov’s gold medal joined his 1996 French Open and 1999 Australian Open singles titles. This along with his doubles Grand Slam successes would seemingly have put Kafelnikov into the Hall of Fame (a topic for another day). Mark Wooforde and Todd Woodbridge had to settle for a silver medal in doubles as Sebastien Lareau and Daniel Nestor took the gold for Canada. Alex Corretja and Albert Costa claimed a bronze medal in doubles. Costa did win the 2002 French Open in singles. Corretja is one of the best players to never win a slam, but a bronze medal along with winning the 1998 ATP World Championships and his 2 French Open runner-up finishes (1998 and 2001) leave him with a strong career.
Final Verdict – The Big Story of All Williams All the Time
Venus and Serena winning the doubles title foreshadowed the historic run they shared from 2003-2004. Considering that the two have combined to win 21 singles slams, 13 women’s doubles slams, 3 Olympic Gold Medals, and 4 Mixed Doubles Slams, this remarkable story is still being written. Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Tommy Haas were worthy competitors for a gold medal in 2000. They produced a grueling 5 set match in the final round. Overall, these games were a fairly solid success for tennis.